Even before CES 2024 officially started, we already knew it would be jam-packed with stuff using artificial intelligence in various capacities. Even Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event is already positioning AI as the unique selling point of its latest hardware. However, the unexpected star of the expo was a handheld device called R1.

Developed by a startup based in Santa Monica, California called Rabbit, this somewhat simplistic gadget is in fact a cutting-edge platform that enhances our digital experiences. Instead of immersive features like haptics, spatial sound, or vibrant visuals, the R1 simplifies tasks which normally require us to tap and swipe on our smartphones.

It does not dumb it down by any means, but it allows users to primarily interact with voice commands instead. Reports point out this product was co-developed with Teenage Engineering. The Swedish group is known for their sleek minimalist designs.

Despite how their creations look, what matters is the highly capable functions they ship with. According to industry sources, the R1 was inspired by old-school portable electronics like the Tamagotchi as well as the simple yet handy Post-it notes.

It touts a square form factor and is outfitted with a 2.88″ touch display. To the right is a scroll wheel, a push-to-talk button, and a swivelling camera. It runs on a proprietary software called Rabbit OS further enhanced by the “Large Action Model” (LAM) system for its AI.

Support for Wi-Fi and mobile data via a SIM card slot keeps the R1 connected to execute almost any command you tell it to. For example, Rabbit says it can arrange a taxi ride, order food, book a flight, and more. The first batch of preorders is already full, and the second is now open for reservations as well. The unit costs $199 and does not require any subscription.

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Images courtesy Rabbit