Why the Rabbit R1 might be the first meaningful departure from smartphone design

Groundbreaking product design doesn’t really come around that often. We’re frequently told that we’re only a handful of years away from self-driving cars or an automated revolution that will eradicate the need for us to regularly perform mundane, repetitive tasks, but the reality is that we’ve been promised that for the best part of the last 100 years. The iPhone launch in 2007 genuinely took us into a new, exciting and revolutionary realm of the best smartphones ever, but as the lines between software and hardware continue to blur and more advanced devices get launched on to the market, we’re still waiting for that next big step change on from what we’ve become accustomed to.

However, the recently announced Rabbit Handheld R1 AI device has come out of the blue, and signals a true and potentially meaningful departure from conventional smartphone design and our reliance on app-based operating systems. Initially teased on social media before being shown to the world at the latest CES conference earlier this month, it promises to revolutionise technological responses to natural language input, offering the opportunity for complex tasks to be carried out via voice activation using AI. Sounds too good to be true? Perhaps, but it’s a promising and intriguing claim.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Jacob Little is a UK-based photographer and journalist with a particular interest in travel.