Surprise! Rabbit R1 is Just an App Disguised as AI Hardware

Surprise! Rabbit R1 is Just an App Disguised as AI Hardware
In Short
  • The Rabbit R1, the recently popular AI-powered gadget, is revealed to be running on some version of Android.
  • The gadget's entire interface turned out to be just an app that you could install on an Android device to replicate its functionality.
  • Since the news broke, Rabbit R1's CEO, Jesse Lyu released a statement that the device is running on a bespoke version of AOSP.

AI-powered devices have been all the rage since the beginning of this year, like the Humane AI pin and the Rabbit R1. The former received several criticisms for its expensive price tag, which is why everyone turned their heads towards the cheaper Rabbit R1. But closer inspection begged the question – “why couldn’t it be just an app?”, since the device failed to perform anything significant that one can’t do from their phone itself.

Well, according to a post by Mishaal Rehman via Android Authority, it looks like it was just an app to begin with running on some version of Android. The entire interface of the Rabbit r1 seems to be just the app itself. This allowed Mishaal to install and run the Rabbit R1 launcher APK on his Pixel 6A. He completed the setup, even created a “rabbithole” account, and used the AI itself. The volume buttons allowed him to navigate through the Rabbit R1 app, mimicking the scroll wheel on the R1.

Rabbit R1 launcher APK running on Android
Image Courtesy: Android Authority

He also included a video showing the launcher in action. Integration with other apps like Spotify and Uber won’t work on the APK, as it requires system-level permissions. However, this does prove that the standalone app could have functioned just as well.

Since the news broke out, Rabbit founder and CEO Jesse Lyu disagreed with the claims. He gave a statement mentioning that the device runs a bespoke version of AOSP. You can read his complete statement below:

Rabbit R1 is not an Android app. We are aware there are some unofficial rabbit OS app/website emulators out there. We understand the passion that people have to get a taste of our AI and LAM instead of waiting for their r1 to arrive. That being said, to clear any misunderstanding and set the record straight, rabbit OS and LAM run on the cloud with very bespoke AOSP and lower-level firmware modifications, therefore a local bootleg APK without the proper OS and Cloud endpoints won’t be able to access our service. rabbit OS is customized for r1 and we do not support third-party clients. After today’s OTA, we implemented multiple cloud verification improvements to validate the device/client requests. We reserve all rights for any malicious and illegal cyber security activities towards our services.

It could be possible that Rabbit R1 is using some sort of Linux Distro under the hood. That is because it uses Ubuntu’s tags to sync updates as discovered within its source code. All this does not sound like good news to the company and the product which was already garnering criticisms across the tech community and reviewers. What beholds this gadget will be interesting to see.

What are your thoughts about this news? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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