The Rabbit R1 perplexes me

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t understand the Rabbit R1 at all. As a piece of hardware, it looks cool, so I understand if you want to spend $200 on a thing that will look cool on your shelf, but take away the cool physical design and I feel like you’re left with a product that’s redundant at best.

The few people I’ve seen online who like it seem to be describing a use case that just doesn’t make any sense to me. They describe the joy of being able to have a device where they can click one physical button and ask any question they’d like. Sure, that sounds like magic, but it’s also the reality we’ve all been living in for over a decade. Siri and Google Assistant have been doing this for years. Sure, the Rabbit R1 is powered by an LLM, but you can easily opt into Gemini as your voice assistant on Android today and Apple is expected to roll this out in a matter of months as well. Don’t want to wait for Apple? Add your favorite LLM as a Lock Screen widget or to the iPhone 15 Pro’s action button for this use case today.

“You haven’t even brought up the Large Action Model, though!”

Ah yes, the LAME…ahem…LAM, a new name for what appears to be basically the same screen scraping tools we’ve also had for decades. And yet it’s a feature so undercooked that it only works with 4 services today, and by all accounts still manages to be the absolute worst way to interact with all 4 of those services.

And what’s the usability cost of an unreliable voice assistant and 4 terrible apps? It has no ambition to replace your phone, so it’s another thing to carry around with you, another thing to keep charged, another data silo distinct from the rest of your life, and another monthly fee if you want it to have cellular service to work outside your home.

I recently posted that I want to see more reviews of products after people have been using them for a few months. In established markets like smartphones and laptops those might be boring, but I think they’re super interesting for fresher products like this; doubly so when someone goes against the general consensus in the early days.