New Rabbit R1 demo promises a world without apps – and a lot more talking to your tech

We’ve already talked about the Rabbit R1 before here on TechRadar: an ambitious little pocket-friendly device that contains an AI-powered personal assistant, capable of doing everything from curating a music playlist to booking you a last-minute flight to Rome. Now, the pint-sized companion tool has been shown demonstrating its note-taking capabilities.

The latest demo comes from Jesse Lyu on X, founder and CEO of Rabbit Inc., and shows how the R1 can be used for note-taking and transcription via some simple voice controls. The video (see the tweet below) shows that note-taking can be started with a short voice command, and ended with a single button press.

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It’s a relatively early tech demo – Lyu notes that it “still need bit of touch” [sic] – but it’s a solid demonstration of Rabbit Inc.’s objectives when it comes to user simplicity. The R1 has very little in terms of a physical interface, and doubles down by having as basic a software interface as possible: there’s no Android-style app grid in sight here, just an AI capable of connecting to web apps to carry out tasks.

Once you’ve recorded your notes, you can either view a full transcription, see an AI-generated summary, or replay the audio recording (the latter of which requires you to access a web portal). The Rabbit R1 is primarily driven by cloud computing, meaning that you’ll need a constant internet connection to get the full experience.

Opinion: A nifty gadget that might not hold up to criticism

As someone who personally spent a lot of time interviewing people and frantically scribbling down notes in my early journo days, I can definitely see the value of a tool like the Rabbit R1. I’m also a sucker for purpose-built hardware, so despite my frequent reservations about AI, I truly like the concept of the R1 as a ‘one-stop shop’ for your AI chatbot needs.

My main issue is that this latest tech demo doesn’t actually do anything I can’t do with my phone. I’ve got a Google Pixel 8, and nowadays I use the app for interview transcriptions and voice notes. It’s not a perfect tool, but it does the job as well as the R1 can right now.

Rabbit r1

The Rabbit R1’s simplicity is part of its appeal – though it does still have a touchscreen. (Image credit: Rabbit)

As much as I love the Rabbit R1’s charming analog design, it’s still going to cost $ 199 (£159 / around AU$ 300) – and I just don’t see the point in spending that money when the phone I’ve already paid for can do all the same tasks. An AI-powered pocket companion sounds like an excellent idea on paper, but when you take a look at the current widespread proliferation of AI tools like Windows Copilot and Google Gemini in our existing tech products, it feels a tad redundant.

The big players such as Google and Microsoft aren’t about to stop cramming AI features into our everyday hardware anytime soon, so dedicated AI gadgets like Rabbit Inc.’s dinky pocket helper will need to work hard to prove themselves. The voice control interface that does away with apps completely is a good starting point, but again, that’s something my Pixel 8 could feasibly do in the future. And yet, as our Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff puts it, I might still end up loving the R1…

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Microsoft makes big promises with new ‘AI PCs’ that will come with AI Explorer feature for Windows 11

Microsoft has told us that it’s working on embedding artificial intelligence (AI) across a range of products, and it looks like it meant it, with the latest reports suggesting a more fleshed-out ‘AI Explorer’ feature for Windows 11.

Windows Central writes that AI Explorer will be the major new feature of an upcoming Windows 11 update, with Microsoft rumored to be working on a new AI assistance experience that’s described as an ‘advanced Copilot’ that will offer an embedded history and timeline feature. 

Apparently, this will transform the activities you do on your PC into searchable moments. It’s said that this AI Explorer will be able to be used in any app, enabling users to search conversations, documents, web pages, and images using natural language.

That promises a lot, implying you’ll be able to make requests like the following that Windows Central gives:

“Find me that list of restaurants Jenna said she liked.”

“Find me that thing about dinosaurs.”

The advanced Copilot should then present everything it deems relevant – including every related word, phrase, image, and topic it can pull. It’s not clear if this means bringing up results from users' data stored locally on their PC or the internet (or a combination, as we see in Windows 11's Search box). I personally would prefer it if AI Explorer kept to just searching local files stored on a device's hard drive for privacy reasons, or at least give us the option to exclude internet results. 

The feature could also offer up suggestions for things you can do based on what you currently have on your screen. For instance, if you’re viewing a photo, you might see suggestions to remove the background in the Photos app. 

The new Photos app in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

When we except more information

Rumors suggest that on March 21 there will be an announcement for the Surface Laptop 6 and Surface Pro 10, which are being hailed as Microsoft’s first real “AI PCs,” and will offer a range of features and upgrades powered by Microsoft’s next-gen AI tools. Sources say that these will go head-to-head with rivals like the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro in terms of efficiency and performance.

According to Neowin, we can look forward to the official launch of these PCs in April and June, but the AI features aren’t expected to be included right away. They’re forecasted to be added in the second half of the year, so the first of these shipped PCs will be pretty much like presently existing PCs running Windows 11 with some flashy hardware upgrades. It also seems like AI Explorer is specifically intended for these new machines, even if not right away, and existing device users won’t be able to use it. 

It sounds like we’ll have to continue to watch for more information from Microsoft, especially as it’s not clear what exactly to expect on March 21, but it’s a lot of hype and excitement that I hope it can fulfill. Copilot’s present form is generally thought to be underwhelming and somewhat disappointing, so Microsoft has a lot to deliver if it wants to impress users and show them that it’s leading the pack with generative AI.


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Nvidia finally catches up to AMD and drops a new app that promises better gaming and creator experiences

Nvidia has announced plans to bring together the features of the Nvidia Control Panel, GeForce Experience, and RTX Experience apps all in a single piece of software. On February 22, Nvidia explained on its website that this new unified app is being made available as a public beta. This means that the app could still be changed in the hopes of improving it, but you can download it now and try it for yourself.

The app is made specifically to improve the experience of gamers and creators currently using machines equipped with Nvidia GPUs by making it easier to find and use functions that formerly lived in separate programs. 

Users with suitable Nvidia GPUs can expect a number of significant improvements that come with this new centralized app. Settings to optimize gaming experiences (by tweaking graphical settings based on your hardware)  and downloading and installing new drivers can now be found in one easy interface.

It’ll be easier to understand and keep track of driver updates, such as new features and fixes for bugs, with clear descriptions. While in-game, users should see a redesigned overlay that makes it easier to access features and tools like filters, recording tools, monitoring tools, and more. Speaking of filters, Nvidia is introducing new AI Freestyle Filters which can enhance users’ visuals and allow them to customize the aesthetics of their games. As well as all of these upgrades, users can easily view and navigate bundles, redeem rewards, get new game content, view current GeForce NOW offers, and more.

Screenshot of the webpage where users can download the Nvidia app beta

(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia's vision

It certainly seems like Nvidia has worked hard to create a more streamlined app that makes it easier to use your RTX-equipped PC. It’s specifically intended to make it easier to do things like make sure your PC is updated with the latest Nvidia drivers, and quickly discover and install other Nvidia apps including Nvidia Broadcast, GeForce NOW, and more. The Nvidia team also claims in its announcement that this new centralized app will perform better on RTX-GPU-equipped PCs than its separate predecessors. That’s thanks to reduced installation times through the app, better responsiveness from the user interface (UI), and because it should take up less disk space than its predecessors (I assume combined). 

This isn’t the end of the new Nvidia app’s development, and it seems some legacy features didn’t make the cut, including 360/Stereo photo modes and streaming directly to YouTube and Twitch, because they see less use. Clearly, Nvidia felt it wasn't worth including these more niche features in the new app, and anyone who wants to continue to use them can still use the older apps (for now, at least). The new app is focused on improving performance, and making it easier to install and integrate new features into users’ systems. 

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 slotted into a PC with its fans showing

(Image credit: Future)

By combining its apps into one, easy-to-use piece of software, Nvidia is finally catching up to AMD in one aspect where Team Red has the advantage: software. AMD's Radeon Adrenalin app already offers a lot of these features, as well as others, like a built-in browser and HDMI link assurance and monitoring that can automatically detect any issues with the HDMI’s connectivity – all in one single interface.

Finally, AMD doesn’t require users to make an account to be able to use its app. We don’t expect that Nvidia will fully catch up to AMD’s app just yet (though it would be nice not to have to sign in), but this is definitely a push in the right direction and hopefully users will see a lot of use out of the new app.


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Microsoft’s official PC Cleaner app is now on the Microsoft Store – and makes big promises about speeding up your PC for free

Microsoft is making its powerful clean up tool PC Cleaner easier to install by adding it to the Microsoft Store (which is built-in to Windows 11) – and it could be a handy tool for speeding up your computer and fixing issues.

The tool is similar to CCleaner, a long-established third-party system cleaner for Windows (now also available for Mac, Android, and iOS). Apps like CCleaner aim to clear out clutter from Windows system folders and improve your PC’s performance due to the cleared space.

Microsoft has been testing its own system cleaning and maintenance software since 2022. Originally, Microsoft’s PC Manager app was being developed and tested by Microsoft’s for the Chinese market. Now, Windows Latest has spotted that the PC Manager app is available for download from the Microsoft Store and is also available in more regions including the US. You can use PC Cleaner in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 as it’s supported on both operating systems. It didn’t come up on either of my Windows 11 devices in the Microsoft store, but have a look for yourself. It seems like if you can’t get it yet, it is coming soon according to an official Microsoft PC Cleaner page.

A screenshot of the official Microsoft PC Cleaner page

(Image credit: Future)

What features and tools users can expect

The latest version of PC Cleaner introduces a floating toolbar which allows you to quickly access PC Cleaner’s tools. These include:

  • PC Boost which deals with unnecessary processes and deletes temporary files, along with a Smart Boost option for spikes in RAM usage and temporary files that exceed 1 GB file size.
  • Deep Cleanup that seeks out older Windows update files, clears out recycle bin files, your web cache, and application caches. However, you can select what you’d like to keep or remove.
  • Process which provides a view of all of the processes currently running on your PC, allowing you to end any process in PC Cleaner without opening up Task Manager.
  • Startup that allows you to manage the apps that launch on start-up
  • Large Files which locates large files on any of your drives more quickly than if you had to find them manually using File Explorer.
  • More tools like Taskbar Repair to revert it to its original state and Restore Default Apps to restore all default app preferences. In true Microsoft fashion, it looks like the company will apparently use this feature to encourage you to use Microsoft apps such as Edge, according to Windows Latest.

Man using download manager on laptop

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Microsoft's take on third-party system cleaner apps

Microsoft has spoken less than favorably about third-party PC cleaner apps and sometimes called them harmful. It would warn users that these apps would be more likely to delete crucially important registry files by accident to clean up as much ‘junk’ as possible. CCleaner even got Microsoft’s potentially unwanted program (PUP) stamp of disapproval. A PUP is a piece of software that may be perceived as unwanted, unnecessary, or harmful by users. While Microsoft has its own vested interest to have people use as many in-house apps as possible, CCleaner has had legitimate security concerns in the past because of malware-related incidents. 

However, it should be noted that while Microsoft has labeled CCleaner a PUP, it’s available to download from the Microsoft Store as well.

Microsoft’s PC Manager is free to use and it can be set to correspond with your Windows theme. It’s got a host of useful tools designed by Microsoft itself for Windows, and the company promises it won’t delete any necessary system files. While options like third-party apps are good to have, this seems like a solid bet and I’ll be installing it myself when it's available to me. It’s less likely to come with malware since it comes straight from Microsoft, and will be able to be downloaded via the Microsoft Store. It also has features for free that you have to pay for in other apps like CCleaner. If you can’t see it in the Microsoft Store yet (like me), there is an official Microsoft page for PC Cleaner that indicates a direct download link is coming soon. 


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