Why is the Humane AI Pin in trouble?


It’s been just a few months since Humane launched its AI Pin to consumers, but the company might already be in trouble. According to Bloomberg, Humane, which first announced the AI Pin in November and officially released it in April to mixed and mostly negative reviews, is reportedly looking for a buyer. The company is seeking between $750 million to $1 billion, as per an anonymous source Bloomberg interviewed. This valuation aligns with the $850 million reported by The Information, although Humane has never disclosed an official valuation for its funding rounds.

For those unfamiliar with the AI Pin, Humane marketed it as an “ambient” computer, integrating generative AI into a wearable pocket protector form factor. The device features a laser projector display and an array of sensors. Humane envisioned the AI Pin as a potential smartphone replacement. However, it seems to have fallen short of that ambitious goal.


What is the Humane AI Pin?

The Humane AI Pin is a $700 wearable device with a $24 monthly subscription fee for unlimited AI queries, a phone number, and unlimited data. Despite its innovative concept, it was not received well. Reviewers, including MKBHD in his scathing review titled “The Worst Product I’ve Ever Reviewed…For Now,” highlighted several issues. These included slow response times, reliance on voice commands, a janky laser display, network dependency, poor battery life, and overheating problems.


Competition and Market Struggles

The AI Pin faces stiff competition from other AI-integrated devices. The Rabbit R1, for instance, offers a more familiar and user-friendly pocket AI assistant with a regular screen, priced at $199. Additionally, Meta’s Ray-Ban wearables, which can respond to voice commands, snap pictures, play music, and take phone calls, pose a significant threat.


Humane’s Internal Struggles

Compounding the product’s reception issues, Humane has faced internal challenges. Patrick Gates, the chief technology officer who joined the company in 2019, left in January before the AI Pin’s launch. Additionally, the company laid off about 4% of its workforce.


The Future of AI in Smart Devices

Humane’s struggles with the AI Pin highlight the challenges of integrating AI into smart devices. While AI has tremendous potential to enhance smart devices, Humane’s experience demonstrates that not all implementations are successful. The company’s attempt to create a smartphone replacement with the AI Pin may have proven that innovation alone isn’t enough without addressing user needs and ensuring robust performance.

With sales of the AI Pin likely falling short of expectations, it’s not surprising that Humane is exploring a sale. The mixed reviews and internal challenges underscore the difficulties of bringing a new AI-driven wearable to market. Despite the setbacks, the AI Pin’s story serves as a case study in the ongoing evolution and potential of AI in consumer technology.