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May 23, 2024

Rabbit R1 Sells Out On Launch Day As Consumers Embrace AI Companion Device

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Jan 16, 2024

Consumer electronics startup Rabbit made waves at CES 2024 by unveiling their first product – the Rabbit R1. Billed as an “AI companion”, the device promises to simplify and improve people’s digital lives by acting as a centralized interface powered by a custom AI assistant called Rabbit Pin. The initial batch of 10,000 units sold out on the first day, pointing to strong consumer appetite for this type of AI-enabled device.

R1 Leverages AI To Control Apps, Services Via Voice Commands

The R1 features a simple design with just a few buttons and a click wheel, but offers advanced interactivity via the built-in microphone. Users can issue voice commands to open apps, order food, book rides, search the internet, control smart home devices, and more.

As described by Rabbit CEO Ashkan Soltani at CES, “The R1 allows you to interact with apps and services without being forced to tap through screens. It’s all just a conversation – Rabbit can do things for you in the background via voice so your attention stays in the real world.”

This is enabled by Rabbit Pin, an AI system optimized for task completion instead of pure conversation. Pin can parse complex commands, take the appropriate actions across apps and services, and summarize responses verbally back to the user.

10,000 Units Sold on Launch Day Despite $199 Price Tag

Priced at $199, the R1 goes up against budget smartphones in terms of cost. However, strong preorder demand saw the initial production run of 10,000 units sell out completely within the first day of sales.

Rabbit has suggested that Pin’s capabilities and the unique R1 design generated significant consumer interest despite the price. Backing up those claims, the R1 also ranked highly across “best of CES” roundups from major tech publications.

R1 Sales Figures

Launch Day Sales Price Per Unit Total Revenue
10,000 $199 $1,990,000

The sellout reflects a potential appetite for AI companions as an alternative or companion to smartphones and voice assistants. While the R1 does not aim to replace phones entirely, its focused approach to task completion suits many consumer use cases.

Mixed Early Reviews, But Design And AI Promise Win Fans

With the first batch of R1 devices now making their way to consumers, early reviews have been mixed. Reviewers praised the minimalist yet playful design of the R1, crafted in partnership with consumer electronics brand Teenage Engineering. Pin’s voice capabilities were also responsive in testing.

However, some noted issues with the accuracy and depth of Pin’s abilities to complete more complex tasks. There were also complaints about the relatively short battery life of around 10 hours.

In their 3/5 star review, TechRadar’s James Peckham wrote:

The Rabbit R1 feels a little bit like an experiment – albeit, a very slick and futuristic one with bundles of promise if this startup can realize Pin’s potential over the next few years. If you have $200 to scratch that early adopter itch, it offers just enough to keep things interesting for minimalists eager to declutter their device repertoire.

So while AI and design make the R1 alluring, its first-gen limitations mean it may be better suited to early adopters for now.

Additional Production Runs Meet Demand As Rabbit Eyes International Expansion

To keep up with demand after the initial sell-out, Rabbit has opened orders for a third production run due to ship in February 2024. This batch also sold out rapidly, underlining ongoing interest in the R1.

Rabbit founder Ashkan Soltani remains focused on perfecting Pin to elevate it beyond a “one-trick pony” voice assistant:

Getting Pin right requires teaching it how real people speak. By analyzing conversations instead of pre-defined commands, Pin can adapt to handle a much wider range of needs. We believe investing the time for that deep learning will make Pin a far stickier and more useful companion over time.

In tandem, the company plans to ramp up manufacturing capacity and expand internationally across 2024 to bring the R1 to more global consumers.

So while Rabbit is just getting started, the R1’s warm reception suggests consumers may indeed have appetite for AI companion devices. Pin could become smarter and more capable with time. If Rabbit can evolve the product to deliver on its promises over a few iterations, the R1 may yet achieve mainstream appeal.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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