March 20, 2024

The Rabbit R1 chronicles.

Chapter 12: It’s Android/not Android.

Rabbit R1 is built on a mobile operating system called AOSP, Android Open Source Project. Oh, so it’s Android? Not really. Think of AOSP as the skeleton of the OS and not the live, functioning body. Rabbit OS will be a much-customized and extended version of AOSP.

Since Rabbit is built on someone else’s OS, what about security? That’s a major issue for a device connected to a cloud-based virtual machine that you’re entrusting financial interactions to. iPhone still rules when it comes to mobile security, but then it’s always been a closed system with Apple controlling software, hardware, sales of apps, even down to producing every Lightning plug made. It’s been so secure that NSO’s Pegasus spyware charged $1 million to hack into an iPhone. It’s kind of a rare perfect-world scenario, but that may have changed with the EU forcing Apple to open up the iOS system: switch to a USB-C connection, allow sideloading and third-party app stores. Effects remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, what about AOSP security and what does that mean for Rabbit? AOSP is open source and designed to function with Android. It has its own good level of security and developers can build more security on top. For example, Graphene OS is a very secure OS built on top of AOSP and has also heavily contributed to enhance AOSP security itself. If building on top of an open-source infrastructure itself seems risky, it’s not. Mac and iOS are built on top of open-source Unix. So the Rabbit OS can be substantially secure, but we won’t know just how secure until Rabbit is in the wild in a few weeks.

So why not build Rabbit and its OS from scratch? It’s the cost. Most are not aware that the reason you can buy a new car today for under $20K is that manufacturers build as much of that car as they can from existing parts. Years ago I foolishly bought a vintage Saab Sonnet sports car and asked my mechanic what would happen if the engine blew. He told me he could pop a stock Ford Mustang engine in there since that’s essentially what it was. Not reinventing the wheel every time you create a new car model is what keeps the hardware costs down. Phone hardware is built on even fewer parts, like existing chipsets, modules, transmitters, receivers, etc. Though Rabbit is not an Android phone, it does contain the same components. And because so many of these components are common across devices, they’re cheaper to buy.

Software is similar. With many open-source resources like AOSP available today, you have a free starting point with much of the work already done. It’s substantially cheaper to build on existing technology, like AOSP that was specifically deigned for mobile devices. That’s why Rabbit can sell for a paltry $200.

The Rabbit OS will be a highly-customized version of AOSP that’s designed to interface to AI through voice and camera. While AOSP natively can run Android apps, Rabbit won’t. AOSP has capabilities for text and phones calls. At least initially, Rabbit won’t.

You might think Rabbit is an entirely new beast, but the Humane AI Pin also has AOSP at its core. Since the AI Pin is not out in the wild yet either, it remains to be seen how different the two OSs are, despite the fact that they have the same skeleton and will be doing much the same thing. Stay tuned.

Read the next chapter: Do you want your AI to be a Gameboy, techno broach or giant Mento?

Check out the entire Chronicles.

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Chapter 11: The fun factor. Is the Rabbit R1, too cute? Well, that’s likely to be what may make it a big success. Rabbit recently did an ex-space discussion called Future of AI
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Chapter 13: Do you want your AI to be a Gameboy, techno brooche or giant Mento? The validity of the dedicated AI device just became more obvious with the introduction of a third noted player: Open Interpreter 01 Light. For a
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