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Humane AI in talks with HP and telecoms for potential sale

Humane, the AI hardware startup founded by ex-Apple designers, is seeking a buyer after its AI Pin’s lukewarm debut, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The company is currently in talks with HP and other firms, including more than one telecom company, the source told CNBC.

Humane has hired investment bank Tidal Partners to advise on a potential deal, the source said.

The startup billed its artificial intelligence device, worn on the lapel, as a way to replace a user’s smartphone, allowing users to place calls, send texts, make search queries and more, through voice control. The AI Pin costs $699 and requires a $24 monthly data subscription to T-Mobile.

But when Humane sent the AI Pin to gadget reviewers in April, it was met with a tepid reception, with many calling it untrustworthy and not very useful. Reviewers for instance said it was “more science project than finished product,” “totally broken” and a “party trick” at best.

The New York Times first reported on the talks with HP.

In April, a source familiar with the company told CNBC that although Humane was behind where it originally wanted to be, it’s typical for hardware startups not to get products exactly right on launch. The source added that, although the company was likely behind by about six months, that wasn’t surprising for such a venture.

Last year, Humane raised $100 million in funding from Microsoft, LG’s venture arm and Tiger Global before announcing its device, bringing its funding total to more than $200 million. Backers include OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. CNBC

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