Rabbit r1, the anti-smartphone is a success

“At the beginning of the r1 project, we told ourselves that we would be happy if 500 were sold on launch day,” reads a post on Rabbit X. That prediction, indeed, that hope, was utterly wrong: on day one rabbit r1 sold 20 times as many, 10,000 instead of the 500 they would have gladly settled for. So, a new wave of preorders started, but the second 10 thousand units sold out in not even two days. Now we are on the third one, and if you want one, you’d better be quick because the third batch of r1s could run out in no time like the previous ones, and it’s not certain that pre-orders will be opened for a fourth batch after the third one.

What it’s about

Rabbit r1 is a small technology powerhouse with a 2.88-inch touch display that promises, thanks to artificial intelligence, to do whatever we need to go through an app for us. “The operating system of r1, rabbit OS, is the first OS created on Large Action Model (LAM), rabbit’s proprietary core model capable of inferring and modeling human actions on computer interfaces by learning users’ intentions and behavior when using specific apps, then mimicking and executing them reliably and quickly,” explained Rabbit’s CEO at CES 2024, where r1 was unveiled. In short, like ChatGPT writes responses or Dall-e generates an image from a request, rabbit r1 generates neither written responses nor images but produces actions “to help [users] complete their tasks.”

Rabbit r1, the anti-smartphone is a success
Rabbit r1, the anti-smartphone is a success

The R1 is a squarish red-orange device about a post-it note pad size. It was designed in collaboration with the Swedish company Teenage Engineering. It has a 2.88-inch touchscreen on the left side and an analogue scroll wheel on the right. Above the scroll wheel is a camera that can rotate 360 degrees, the “Rabbit Eye”; when not in use, the camera faces up or down to ensure users’ privacy, and it can be used both for selfies and as a rear camera.

The Rabbit Eye can also be used for video calls, although it is not designed as a traditional smartphone camera. A push-to-talk button on the right edge can be held down to give voice commands to the R1. The device can connect to wi-fi, but it also has a slot that can accommodate a 4G LTE sim card for continuous connection, which means it does not need to pair with any other device. It has a USB-C port for charging, and Rabbit claims the battery lasts “all day.”

Price and availability

Rabbit r1 costs $199 or 184.95 euros in Europe, about 200 euros, including shipping. Although it is tough today to talk about shipping times. On Rabbit’s portal (where you eventually have to pre-order), it says that units optioned before March will be shipped to U.S. customers between March and April; for international shipments, however, there are no estimates on fulfilment time: “We expect them to start later in 2024 […]. Shipment estimates are subject to change based on production capacity and component availability.” Therefore, the timeframe could be long due to the unexpected success. Fancy a smartphone? Perhaps not, but rather for technology that, while innovative, allows us to think more about ourselves and be less dependent on a screen.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.