April 26, 2024

Chapter 21: Don’t turn it into a phone, dammit.

The Rabbit R1 chronicles.

On Rabbit’s Discord, I’m hearing a lot of people say they want Rabbit R1 to be able to take nice pictures. And shoot great video. And store files. And send email. And send texts. And make phone calls. But this is what human beings always do: We’re short-sighted enough that we don’t realize what we already have.

As an example, there’s no place this is more obvious than with small cars. You put a bunch of people in a focus group and ask them what they think about their existing compact car. The answer is always, I’d buy a new model if it were just a little bigger and the engine had a little more pep. And then the company makes the next year’s car a little bigger and the puts a few more horsepower into it. You’d think those owners got exactly what they wanted. But then the thing stops selling. And at the next focus group when the company wants to find out why, they hear Wow, it doesn’t fit into a parking space as nicely and the mileage sucks. No, you’ve ruined it. I wouldn’t buy this. It’s not that you can’t please everybody: it’s that you can’t even please the same customer.

Back to Rabbit. As for better photos, video, file storage, texts and phone, let’s be real: The existing hardware of Rabbit might be able to do all this. But we all already have a phone that does this and will do it better than any AI device available now or that’s in the works. The intention behind Rabbit R1 was never to duplicate what your phone can do. Rabbit’s camera is not designed to compete with a $1500 phone camera. The Eye is really just an input device for the AI: You point it at something and Rabbit tells you what it is. Or gives you a list of features. Or tells you what’s wrong with it.

R1 is also not really designed to store a bunch of files or media either. My iPhone can do that because it has a terabyte of storage. If we were able to shoot photos and video, as well as store files, we’d eat up that 128 gb storage in R1 in no time. And then we’d cry that we need Rabbit’s USB to connect to external memory. And we’d want Rabbit R2 to have more memory, a better camera that shoots photos and video, does text and is a phone. And then—well, Rabbit wouldn’t be the cute, little $200-device that has made its launch so successful, now would it? The size and price would have to go up and everybody would look at R2 as just an iPhone wannabe. Aren’t these features available now in the Humane Pin? And look at how unsuccessful it is.

Instead, let’s let Rabbit R1 do what it was designed to do: assist. R1 is a walkie-talkie for you to communicate with AI at the press of a button without having to find an app on your phone. It will hail you a car. Or bring you food. Or translate. Or record your meeting. Or talk a note. Or see a handwritten chart and turn it into a spreadsheet and send it to your computer. These are all core functions of what R1 does right now. And improvements, more service connections and Teach Mode are on the way that will really prove Rabbit’s worth.

I’m hoping that Rabbit can stay the course of its original purpose and push the bounds of both AI and personal assistance while remaining in its cute, little form factor.

Next article in series: How to create a spreadsheet

Check out the Chronicles.

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Chapter 20: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Rabbit R1 Founder Jesse Lyu set out to make an iconic device, something we’ll remember for years to come. If the R1 reminds you of a Gameboy, that’s
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rabbit-r1-chronicles-22-csv Example of a table Rabbit R1 can convert into a CSV file Spreadsheets are Rabbit R1’s best parlor trick. And actually very useful. You can jot down
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