Modders discover Rabbit R1 is just an Android app & can be used on phones

Jitendra Soni
Rabbit R1 CES 2024

The Rabbit R1 runs on a custom version of Android, and within a week of its launch, tinkerers have already made RabbitOS run on smartphones.

The introduction of new AI devices like the infamous Humane AI Pin and the Rabbit R1 has raised eyebrows in the tech community, with Marques Brownlee infamously calling the Humane AI pin the “worst product” he’s ever reviewed, and the Rabbit R1 hailed as “barely reviewable” on launch.

Now, users have not only been able to get access to Rabbit OS, which powers the Rabbit R1 device, but have also been able to make it run on mid-range Android smartphones. An X user, Marcel, could install the Rabbit OS installer file on a regular Android phone. What the user found was that RabbitOS was nothing more than an Android app, eliminating the need for dedicated hardware almost entirely, with a few hiccups.

He posted videos showing him testing out R1’s core features like Vision, which unfortunately didn’t work. He even tried playing Spotify using the combination of volume keys, and while the app played songs, it was glitchy, as expected when running the app on hardware it was not meant for.

Even Mishaal Rahman, a known Android enthusiast and a fellow journalist at Android Authority, made Rabbit OS work on a 2-year-old midrange Android smartphone, the Google Pixel 6a.

While Rahman says he didn’t bother testing other application features, another user could run Android apps on the $200 AI gadget. However, the video appears to have been taken down or made private at the time of writing.

Rabbit insists it’s more than just an app

In response, Rabbit has released an official statement saying that while R1 runs on a forked version of Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the Rabbit OS and LAM run on the cloud – suggesting that barely any computing happens on the device.

The statement reads, “rabbit OS and LAM run on the cloud. 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. After today’s OTA, we implemented multiple cloud verification improvements to validate the device/client requests. We reserve all rights for any malicious and illegal cyber security activities towards our services.

So, given that the new update validates requests to hardware, it’s possible that this workaround will no longer be possible with newer versions of RabbitOS. However, multiple YouTubers, including Marques Brownlee(MKBHD) and Dave2D, suggest that the Rabbit R1 is an incomplete device with a below-average battery life, and an inconsistent software experience.