AI Pin Maker Humane Reportedly Explores Sale to HP for $1 Billion

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Key Takeaways

  • Humane is said to be talking to HP about a possible $1 billion sale.
  • The AI Pin maker reportedly started discussions soon after launch.
  • The company is also urging owners to stop using the charging case over a fire hazard.

Humane is reportedly exploring a sale to HP for $1 billion as it grapples with a problem with its AI Pin charging case.

Sources for The New York Times claimed Humane began discussing a deal with HP roughly a week after its AI wearable debuted to poor reviews.

The company is also now understood to have sold fewer units than anticipated. Where Humane had targeted 100,000 sales this year, it only had 10,000 orders by the early April launch.

We’ve asked Humane and HP for comment on the rumored deal and will let you know if we hear back. The report echoes a Bloomberg story asserting that Humane was looking for a buyer, and wanted between $750 million to $1 billion.

If accurate, an acquisition like this wouldn’t be out of line for HP. The PC giant has occasionally acquired companies beyond its usual realm of expertise, most notably when it bought Palm in 2010.

That $1.2 billion purchase proved disastrous, however. Slow Palm device sales were a key factor, but the arrival of Leo Apotheker as CEO also cut short the company’s plans. He made a number of unusual decisions that prompted HP’s board to oust him, including the abrupt end to Palm’s webOS business, plans to spin out its PC division, and the purchase of Autonomy.

The AI Pin has also run into new trouble. TechCrunch notes Humane sent email to customers on Wednesday warning them to stop using the pin’s charging case over concerns there might be a fire hazard. The battery supplier was “no longer meeting our quality standards,” Humane said, and would be replaced going forward.

There’s no word yet on recalls or refunds, but Humane has offered two free months of the necessary $24 subscription service as short-term compensation.

Most of the criticism of the AI Pin has revolved around its core functionality. The generative AI at its heart is frequently inaccurate, and can’t perform some common tasks. Short battery life and a dependence on the web for some features also haven’t helped.

The case issue won’t necessarily impact sales. It doesn’t help Humane with sale discussions, however, as it might rattle the trust of would-be buyers.