An orange, walkie-talkie-style gadget called the R1 caused a bit of a stir at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES) recently, and it is a timely reminder for brand owners and agencies weighing the opportunities and challenges that will shape 2024. Built by technology start-up Rabbit, the R1 is the latest entrant in the race to build the iPhone of artificial intelligence – a next generation piece of hardware that will enable its users to access and deploy AI agents to carry out a range of different tasks.
It is primarily a voice-activated universal controller for apps powered by a Large Action Model, in theory making it versatile and adaptable as it does not depend on a special interface. It also has a training mode, meaning users can teach it to perform special actions. An exciting prospect; let’s hope it lives up to expectations as it rolls out to market.
At first glance, the R1 offers brand owners a snapshot of a world beyond smartphones and a tantalising prompt for all the possibilities AI-powered brand interactions and experiences will enable. Stop and think about its boxy rabbit icon, bright orange casing, and norm-busting promise – it’s category-defining branding and design. In fact, the R1’s stand-out look and ground-breaking proposition sum up what’s lacking in much brand design today.