July 20, 2024
Humane’s $699 Ai Pin is now available

Humane today announced the availability of its first product, the Ai Pin. The Bay Area-based hardware startup has been kicking around since 2017, a year after co-founders Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chaudhri left Apple. Since then, the company has been well-funded, to the tune of $230 million, and focused on building stand-alone AI devices.

Ai Pin is the first of what Humane hopes will be a long line of devices aimed at harnessing the power and popularity of generative AI platforms such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. The system relies on a number of different LLM-based systems, harnessing what it believes to be the best platform for each individual job.

TechCrunch spoke with Bongiorno and Chaudhri about the company’s history and plans for the future. We also picked up one of the devices for some hands-on testing. The Humane Ai Pin is still very much a first-generation product in a number of ways, including reliability and functionality, but the hardware represents a keen attention to detail that betrays its founders origins.

Humane’s vision for the $699 device is one in which a new technology can free itself of its predecessors’ limitations. Specifically this means a voice-based, always-connected device that can help users look up from their phone screens from time to time.

In our recent conversation, Bongiorno described an experience that set the co-founders on the path that would ultimately lead to the pin. “We had gone to this dinner, and there was a family sitting next to us,” she noted “There were three kids and a mom and dad, and they were on their phones the entire time. It really started a conversation about the incredible tool we built, but also some of the side effects.”

The Ai Pin is the first of what will almost certainly be a long line of products riding the generative AI boon. Back at CES in January, Rabbit turned heads with its R1 handheld. The following month at MWC, Brain.AI showed off its vision of a handset that uses generative AI as the core of its novel operating system. The field is already proving to be a diverse one, amid broader smartphone sales struggles.

Humane’s $699 entry point gets you the Ai Pin, an extra battery and an AI charging case. Different color options start at $799. Various accessories are available, ranging from $29 to $49, while the obligatory subscription service will run $24/month. As a sign of good faith, Humane is tossing in three free months with the purchase of a pin.

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