Rabbit denies claims that its R1 virtual assistant is a glorified Android app

The $199 device recently started making its way to early adopters.


The Rabbit R1, a pocket-sized AI virtual assistant device, runs Android under the hood and is powered by a single app, according to Android Authority. Apparently, the publication was able to install the R1 APK on a Pixel 6a and made it run as if it were the $199 gadget, bobbing bunny head on the screen and all. If you already have a phone and aren't quite intrigued by specialized devices or keen on being an early adopter, you probably didn't see merit in getting the R1 (or its competitor, the Humane AI Pin) in the first place. But this information could make you question the device's purpose even more. Rabbit CEO Jesse Lyu, however, denied that the company's product could've just been released an Android app.

In a statement sent to Android Authority, Lyu said: "rabbit r1 is not an Android app." He added that the company is aware that there are "unofficial rabbit OS app/website emulators out there" and is discouraging their use. "We understand the passion that people have to get a taste of our AI and LAM instead of waiting for their r1 to arrive," he continued. "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. Using a bootlegged APK or webclient carries significant risks; malicious actors are known to publish bootlegged apps that steal your data. For this reason, we recommend that users avoid these bootlegged rabbit OS apps."

Android Authority admitted that Spotify integration and other features probably wouldn't work when the R1 is installed on a phone, because it was created to run on the company's specialized firmware. However, it promised a follow-up story delving deeper into the subject.

The R1 has the capability to book you an Uber, find you titles to songs stuck in your brain or look for recipes that can incorporate ingredients you have in your fridge, among other things a virtual assistant or an AI chatbot can do. When Rabbit CEO Jesse Lyu introduced the R1 at CES 2024, he demonstrated how it can be trained to do a variety of other tasks when he taught it to generate an image using Midjourney. Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low found it more fun and accessible than the $700 Humane AI Pin, but she remains skeptical about the usefulness of AI devices overall. It may still be too early to tell whether they have the potential to become a must-have product for your daily life or the high-tech equivalent of single-use kitchen tools. We're already in the midst of testing the R1 and will publish a review soon to help you decide if it's worth giving the product category a chance.