2024 Hard(ware)-ons - General Technology News

I’m not sure we have a general thread for hardware? May as well start one for hardware and tech news and info that just doesn’t really fit anywhere else.

Humane AI Pin, a hardware personal assistant. I think we talked about this briefly in the Kickstart thread, but I can’t find it.

Marques Brownlee reviews it - DOA. Interesting form factor, great build quality, practically no connectivty options, barely works and, surprise, a phone is just better at pretty much all the use cases one might use this for.

Yeah, whenever it was first mentioned here, it was immediately obvious that this boondongle was going to be useless! Really surprised someone thought this would be successful!

Funnily enough, this product review (and an earlier one for the Fisker SUV) has kicked off a bit of a kerfuffle.

Long story short, some people are pointing specifically to his review as a “product killer” that “stifles innovation” because Marques Brownlee is such a gigantic presence in tech reviews.

If your innovation sucks that bad it deserves to be stifled.

I know a fair number of people who work at Humane. Smart and talented folks, pretty universally. Plus an exception or two.

I feel bad for them because the thing they made is just plain bad. It’s not a good product. It doesn’t really seem to have a whole lot of room to grow into something that is a good product in the timeframe that they’d need to succeed as a company.

It really sucks for the people involved, but the market is a harsh and unforgiving place.

I love that Marques is such a huge presence now. Dude was just a NeoGAF kid that decided to start a YouTube channel. Great for him.

Brownlee correctly pointed out that his review was based on the product and in this case, his negative review wasn’t the first or even the most scathing. In fact, he had some positive points and said he hopes they improve. The only difference between his review and others is his reach with so many more subs and views.

If the product sucks, it sucks. You’re asking people to pay $700 plus a monthly sub to basically beta test your prototype. Try again if you can.

It’s not like he’s an outlier.

The Verge review was brutal and that’s even with, judging from the podcast, an extremely sympathetic reviewer who was cutting the company a lot of slack for trying something new. He was much kinder than the rest of the crew.

That soooo muh looks like something I would love to have if it actually worked, and didn’t have to buy a subscription.

Old science fiction called this device a “ferret.”

It’s also surely not a product that is going to be bought or not based on reviews. Nobody is buying a $700 + $24 a month thing that amounts to a ChatGPT client based on reviews. Either they’re all in on AI and want to be an early adopter, or they’re not.

They’d probably sell some if they just got the Star Trek license and made it look like a TNG communicator.

Based on the Verge review, it is a 0.5 gen product, not even first gen. It needs a lot more time baking but I guess they just want to be the first mover in AI gadget, so they just rush it out the door. The hardware is there, but the software is just a mess.

The Verge review is very sympathetic, saying it is basically Google Assistant + Google Lens, without the smartphone hardware, or the hardware is just a pin. The Verge review is basically saying when it works, it is magic. But it doesn’t work most of the time (giving the wrong answer, which is typical, or the functionality you expected from Google Assistant isn’t available at this point for the pin). And even when it works, it is sloooooow.

If a product doesn’t work as advertised, it deserves a bad review. It is calling a spade a spade.

It would be a lot easier to have sympathy for the company if their pre-launch marketing hadn’t been so ridiculous, so evasive regarding simple questions, and so obviously hype over substance. They were cynically riding the AI hype/VC bandwagon and can’t complain when people point out the reality.

It’s like i’ve been saying, some companies exist to sell products to consumers, some companies exist to sell products to investors.

Yes, it will go bust, and yes, everyone will lose their jobs… but the original owners will walk away with several million in their pocket regardless. I mean, we’d like to be billionaires, but i don’t have to work every day with 5m clanging around the bank account either. If it cost early investors 100m to fund it… well, hey, this is moonshot IP stuff guys! We can’t win them all. And investors probably don’t care that much (at that scale) because it’s all paper money anyway, not like it’s money they earned at the local store saving for 40 years or whatever.

They delivered their product, they tried and died. People were paid, money changed hands, no breaches in contract were found.

They do say in Silicon Valley that you aren’t someone unless you’ve got a failed startup or two under your belt.

And thus goes the cycle of tech life. This company might become a footnote in the history of wearable AI tech, but I do agree it’s a cool concept and will hope they’re the ones to finally come out with something more functional and less pricey to fill the niche.

General tech news

AI assistants, take 2! Marques takes on the other hype-job in the market - Rabbit R1.

DOA, AI assistant hardware devices are 0/2. Shocking, I know.

It feels like it used to just make the thing and then put it on sale now it’s like put it on sale and then deliver the half-baked thing and then iterate and make it better…how do you assess a product where the version of what’s promised in like 3 years what it could be is amazing but the version that’s being delivered now is dog water…it’s going to get worse before it gets better…

Yay, the early access model for software is increasingly coming for hardware!

Heh, looks like a Playdate, sorta, except Playdate is actually a viable, cool product.

Thing is: even if it delivered on all of its promises, I still don’t see why this shouldn’t be an app you run on your phone. I can guess why they went the gadget route, but it simply feels highly inconvenient.