Hip, hop, hurray: Rabbit opened pre-orders for its R1 pocket AI companion device earlier this week, and consumers jumped at the opportunity. In a recent post on X, the company recalled that early in the manufacturing process, they said internally they'd be happy to sell just 500 units on launch day. The team absolutely smashed that mark by 20x when it received 10,000 pre-orders on day one.

Rabbit broke cover a couple of days ago as one of the more fascinating products to emerge from CES. The R1 is a AI-powered companion device that's about half the size of an ordinary smartphone. It features an array of input mechanisms like a push-to-talk button, a scroll wheel, a camera, and a microphone that can be used to ask questions or queue up tasks.

The magic that makes R1 tick is a large action model (LAM) that learns how to operate apps and complete tasks, much like a human would. According to its developers, the LAM can learn the interface of any software regardless of the software platform it is running on.

This flexibility vastly expands R1's compatibility as there is no need to hard code commands for each and every app or service you want it to interact with. Think of it like a universal television remote, but for your apps. There's even a mechanism in which you can train the handheld to interact with unfamiliar apps.

As mentioned in our first feature, there are still a lot of unknowns about the inner workings and limitations of the device. For example, could its smarts be rolled into a smartphone app and used on a device you already carry around rather than necessitating a second physical gadget? Perhaps the physical iteration is serving as a proof of concept to gain traction and we'll get an app variant down the road supplemented by smartphone AI hardware.

Those who don't already have a pre-order in will have to wait a while longer to try out R1. The first batch at $199 are now sold out and will arrive between March – April. Round two orders are now open but won't ship until the April – May 2024 window.