The Rabbit r1 AI gadget was one of the highlights of this year’s CES event in January. At the time, I said the gadget almost convinced me to spend $199 on a not-phone device that could interact with apps on my behalf. What stopped me from preordering one was my concerns about the way the r1 handles my data. We learned more details about how the Rabbit r1 handles logins only months later.

The fact that Rabbit planned to ship r1 units in the US first was also a roadblock. I could certainly wait until it was Europe’s turn.

But now that the r1 is out in the wild, I can safely say I’ll never buy one. I’d probably return it if I had, and that’s because I just learned that Rabbit is practically running Android on the r1 rather than a custom operating system.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about Android. The r1 could run any other operating system if it were possible. Say it came with iOS, Windows, macOS, or Linux on board. I’d still have a similar reaction.

Rabbit has not disclosed this detail since unveiling the r1. We were all told the device runs a Rabbit OS, which Rabbit makes seem like a proprietary operating system. In hindsight, this explains the r1’s low price.

Android Authority’s Mishaal Rahman was able to successfully run the Rabbit r1 app on a Pixel 6a and interact with it. That’s after a tipster shared the Rabbit r1’s launcher APK with the blog:

Once installed, we were able to set up our Android phone as if it were a Rabbit R1. The volume up key on our phone corresponds to the Rabbit R1’s hardware key, allowing us to proceed through the setup wizard, create a “rabbithole” account, and start talking to the AI assistant. Since the Rabbit R1 has a significantly smaller and lower resolution display than the Pixel 6a, the home screen interface only took up a tiny portion of the phone’s display. Still, we were able to fire off a question to the AI assistant as if we were using actual Rabbit R1 hardware, as you can see in the video embedded below.

Here’s the video demo of the r1 running on the Pixel 6a:

Rabbit gave Android Authority a comment on the whole mess, which is also available on their X account. They say the Rabbit r1 is not an app. “Rabbit OS and LAM run on the cloud with very bespoke AOSP and lower level firmware modifications,” the company said. Here’s the full statement:

rabbit r1 is not an Android app. We are aware there are some unofficial rabbit OS app/website emulators out there. We understand the passion that people have to get a taste of our AI and LAM instead of waiting for their r1 to arrive. 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.

Again, having an AI gadget like the Rabbit r1 run Android is not a problem. But that should be clear from the start. I would have questions about it, and I’m sure others would. It’s important to know how Rabbit maintains the security of the r1, considering that Android is a target of hackers and that the r1 handles logins.

I’m also surprised that the smart people who developed the r1 discounted the possibility of smart users figuring out the entire thing. But they misled everyone by making it seem like Rabbit OS is a brand-new operating system built from the ground up.

I’m not saying that the Rabbit r1 can’t be successful. It’s a trust thing.

When you also consider the fact that you’re paying $199.99 plus another data plan to use the r1 and the realization that the r1 app could be a smartphone app, you’ll question the need to buy a separate non-phone to perform actions that your Android phone will soon be able to offer.


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