This new $199 AI gadget is no-subscription pocket companion

Originally published at: This new $199 AI gadget is no-subscription pocket companion - Boing Boing The Rabbit r1 is cool, but who needs it?

I was just received this in the mail concerning a product ending in the string “2023”

I have a “lifetime” license, which means that I can write lisp macros until Apple subtly tweaks the API.

I predict this gadget will have a lifetime shorter than you might think.


I am a bit into the video and intrigued. Does this thing exist and work? Need to look later when not trying to accomplish things.

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no way do not want GIF by CBC


I already can be at least 30% inaccurate, for free.


I would like it if I could get something to reliably set reminders and appointments for me that i can use while driving. Siri is not the most helpful. I’ve been considering a dictaphone.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo


Does it somehow still use a cellular network, despite not being a phone? If it requires a wifi connection, the portability is less useful than it first appears.


Previously on BoingBoing:

Sure, “AI” might be impressively bad at all of the things this device purports to handle, but there’s money to made. What could possible go wrong?


30% innacurate trip planning could be interesting.

“Book me a one week trip to London for 11/10/2024”

Heres your itinerary:

Flight to London, Arkansas Nov 10, 2024

Car Rental Pickup at Avis London, UK Oct 11, 2024

Tickets to the Theatre Oct 11, 2024 London UK.



The lack of recurring fees seems more of a Wyoming-sized red flag than a feature. Even without eating the cellular costs, it’s tremendously expensive to run cloud “AI” services. The more people buy and use these devices, the more money the company will lose – if it’s not a scam, it’s mortally unsustainable as a business, and my money’s on both.

In fairness, they’re probably focused on scamming investors, and won’t get round to doing much with consumer data before the whole operation evaporates in the night.

It’s a shame Teenage Engineering keeps being involved in skeezy stuff, although the industrial design itself still looks good.

To be honest, I’m cautiously optimistic about products like these. An accessibility/work tool that does not need to rely on the cloud could be a game changer for the lives of certain people. Get the size and form factor into the size of a watch, get the price down to under a hundred dollars and it will take off. Even better if folks buying these are going to be sure it won’t lose software support if it gets an indie/homebrew dev scene.

A blind or tech illiterate elderly person being able to get details about a local bus route and schedule easily. A person with seriously strong ADHD being able to get many online work tasks done without having the fear of ending up scrolling around online endlessly would probably feel liberating to them. People who work in fields that require a very tiny search footprint as possible would love to have this to keep things out of Google and Bezos’ hands like say reproductive health advocates trying to avoid search subpoenas (if they can truly make these ghost machines). A tool that does not get in the way of being a tool.

If that company plays their hand right, they might actually be embraced by the online privacy focused EU as an actually effective counterweight to Google. That’s only if they manage to keep the AI processing as localized as they claim it’s going to be.

hows that gonna work? and this device here clearly runs over rabbit.techs servers. its an interface for an online-LLM.

how could they not rely on google at least partial with search-queries? cant see it. and their LLM may be localized on their servers but thats hardly local as in device-local.


Good points.

That doesn’t mean the hypothetical device I described wouldn’t be useful in those cases. But the thing is that a notepad filled with handwritten notes are still the best when it comes to many of the things I just described haha

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At least in a Steve Jobs iPhone demo sense.

I spent a few minutes with the R1 after Rabbit’s launch event, and it’s an impressive piece of hardware. Only one device (Lyu’s) was actually functional, and even that one couldn’t do much because of spotty hotel Wi-Fi.

(Who depends on hotel wi-fi for a demo without a Plan B, or a Plan A?)

Some thoughts…

  • This acts as a AI-powered macro on top of the apps you use already.
  • It has to have your security credentials to use those apps.
  • It runs RabbitOS, so does it run those apps locally, or on an Android/iPhone in the cloud?
    • If cloud, see security credentials…
    • What can it do without Internet/mothership access?
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It’s not nearly powerful enough to replace your phone, though it can make video calls and does have a slot for a SIM card.

They were demoing with wi-fi, so I’d assume cellular is coming soon.

there is no way this thing pays itself with $200 alone, not with the necessary infrastructure behind it.

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Big Chumby mood there. Unlike Chumby, I doubt Corel would tolerate a dedicated cadre of fans working to create an alternative service model to keep the product alive.


I’ve been to enough tech conferences to say “more people than you’d think.”


Even if they make money on a $199 Rabbit, they cant fund the backend off of those sales. Sooner or later, there would be a sales downturn, and then the backend costs would eat them.

It sounds like an interesting device, but they need a stable business model.