Rabbit R1 wants to hop out that smartphone from your pocket


On the CES 2024 show floor, a start-up called Rabbit stole the show with a pocket-sized device, dubbed R1, that runs AI (like most things that will come out this year). But what’s so unique about R1 that the Rabbit sold 10,000 of it on the first day itself? Well, the R1 wants to get rid of your apps, maybe then your smartphone. Let us explain how.
The orangish little square, co-designed by Teenage Engineering (the same company that co-designed the Nothing Phone), runs a RabbitOS based on a large action model (LAM), making it capable of doing things on your behalf.In simpler words, it can operate the apps without you needing to open your smartphone.

R1 gets the job done with “rabbits”

R1’s AI foundation trains “rabbits” – personal AI agents – to replicate a user’s typical app and web interactions, performing tasks for them with their permission. Rather than traditional apps, the R1 connects to services through an online portal. These rabbits can handle various tasks, from quick internet searches to complex ones such as travel planning or grocery shopping.

Humans taught rabbits. You can too.

How does it exactly work? To begin interacting with the rabbits, you simply press and hold the “Push-to-Talk” button, which is on the side. The Rabbit OS will listen and display a rabbit head. You can ask the Rabbit R1 AI to book an Uber, find a recipe or identify artists who sampled “That Lady,”and it responds promptly (at least it did during the demo).
Jesse Lyu, Rabbit’s founder, says that the company trained its large action model through human interaction with apps. The model was trained by humans using apps like Spotify and Uber to learn how they work. It knows what a Settings icon looks like, how to confirm an order, and where to find search menus. This knowledge can be applied to any app, notes Lyu.
A dedicated training mode has also been included that allows users to train the device to perform specific actions. For instance, one can train Rabbit to remove watermarks in Photoshop. It will take only 30 seconds for Rabbit OS to process the instructions, and then it does the job itself.

Rabbit R1 is half the size of a smartphone

To handle all your requests the R1 comes equipped with a 2.3GHz MediaTek processor, 4GB of memory, and 128GB of storage. There is a 1000mAH battery inside, which the Rabbit claims can last all day. If you need to charge it at the end of the day, plug it in through the USB-C port.
The R1 is about half the size of a standard phone and features a 2.88-inch touch screen, a rotating camera, and a scroll wheel/button for easy navigation and communication with the built-in assistant. The device’s on-screen interface is designed around category-based cards for music, transportation, video chats, and for verifying the model’s output yourself.
The camera on this device is not primarily designed for capturing moments for social media, but rather for visual searches. For instance, you can take pictures of the contents of your fridge to generate recipe ideas. Despite not being a phone, it can still be used to make phone calls because it has a SIM card slot as well as Wi-Fi and connectivity.
Rabbit assures users that it doesn’t store login data, and authentication happens on the app’s system. Moreover, the microphone on R1 activates only when the user pushes the “Push-to-Talk” button.
The Rabbit R1 is up for pre-orders at $199 (around Rs 16,000), and the shipping is expected to begin in March.


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