Did you know that Segway is a Chinese company since April, and that it’s partly owned byXiaomi, the rising star among Chinese smartphone manufacturers and one of the most valuable startups in the world?
More precisely, Xiaomi is a major shareholder of Ninebot, the Chinese company that in April 2015 acquired Segway, the company synonymous with its two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle. On Monday, Ninebot unveiled the Ninebot mini, a self-balancing scooter and the company’s first product launch after the Segway acquisition in April.
The Ninebot mini is substantially different from any of the Segway models — instead of a handle it has a knee-high steering stick. According to the company, it only takes “a few minutes” to get the hang of using it.
The electric-powered scooter can travel 22km (13.7 miles) on a single charge, with a 16km/h (9.9mph) top speed. It supports loads up to 85 kg (187.4 pounds) — definitely a dealbreaker for many — weighs 12.8 kg (28.2 pounds) and can traverse slopes up to 15 degrees.
The Ninebot mini also comes with a smartphone companion app, which lets you secure your scooter, making it sound an alarm if it’s moved. Ninebot’s press release says the app also lets you control the movement of the scooter, but there are no further details on that.
However, Ninebot mini’s most important feature is the price. At 1999 yuan ($314 USD), it’s orders of magnitude cheaper than any of the Segway models, which typically start at $6,000. Of course, it’s best compared with Ninebot’s eponymous earlier product, which has a handle bar, making it a lot more similar to the Segways. Its price is also much bigger than the Ninebot mini’s — the company currently sells it through Amazon for $2,993.
Xiaomi also launched a new product under its own brand: the Android-powered Mi TV 3. It’s a 60-inch 4K smart TV with an aluminum frame that’s also exceptionally thin (36.7mm at its thickest, 11.6mm at thinnest point). It packs decent specs: a quad-core, 1.4GHz Cortex A-17 CPU, an octa-core Mali-T760 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, for the price of 4999 yuan ($790).
The most important aspect of the Mi TV 3 is its modular design. It consists of two parts: the screen and the Mi TV Bar, a rectangular thin bar that holds the bigger part of the device’s brain. If you have an old TV or a screen that you want to upgrade, you can purchase only the Mi TV Bar for 999 yuan ($158) and you get all the features of the Mi TV 3 for a much lower price.
Both products will become available in black and white in China starting Nov. 3 on mi.com.