Is Humane's Ai Pin Doomed? Company Seeks Buyer Amid Mixed Reviews

According to a Bloomberg report, Humane, the company that developed the wearable device Ai Pin is for sale. The company went through several funding rounds but never had an official valuation. The Information reported that its valuation was at some point $850 million. 

The company has raised $230 million from well-known backers, including Sam Altman, Marc Benioff, Qualcomm Ventures, and Microsoft. 

While the sale process is still in its early stages, Bloomberg, citing an undisclosed source, reported that the company has tentatively self-valued at $750 million to $1 billion.   

Although seeing many overvalued tech companies is nothing new, seeking up to $1 billion for a one-trick pony released to a lukewarm reception is surprising. 

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The Company 

Humane was established in 2017 by two high-profile former Apple executives — Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. 

With their impressive resumes — Imran was a key designer behind the iPhone and iPad interfaces, and Bethany led software engineering teams at Apple — it’s no wonder there was so much hype surrounding the company and its debut product. 

They brought with them a wealth of experience and a reputation for innovation, and their mission was ambitious – to create technology that feels more human, intuitive, and less intrusive.

They envisioned a future where devices wouldn’t just be tools but seamless extensions of ourselves, integrating more naturally into our lives.

This vision resonated with many in the tech world, fueling excitement and high expectations. In a world hungry for the next big thing in tech, investors and consumers always look for something that can replace the smartphone. 

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The Product

The much-hyped product is the Ai Pin, a small, square-shaped voice-controlled device that can be pinned to your shirt instead of carrying it in the pocket like a cellphone. 

It has its own SIM card but doesn’t have a screen. Instead, it relies on a laser that projects menus and text onto surfaces.

Despite being much cheaper than an iPhone, the price point of $699 (plus a recurring $24 monthly subscription) left a sour taste in most people’s mouths. This is mainly because lower-priced devices promise to do things similar to the Ai Pin. There’s the $199 Rabbit R1, $299 Meta’s AI-powered Ray-Bans, and even a $299 AI-powered Monocle

All these products are several hundred dollars cheaper than Humane’s, which led to the review: "The Worst Product I’ve Ever Reviewed…For Now" by Marques Brownlee, the famed YouTuber. He released a damning review of the product when the review embargo was up. 

"This thing is bad at almost everything it does. Basically, all the time," is a direct quote from the video.

As of this writing, the video has 7.5 million views, and some people blame only Marques, not the company that released such a bad product, for the corporation's downfall. 

It’s questionable whether the company will find a buyer or quietly disappear due to scathing YouTube reviews. 

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