Xiaomi Gets in on the ‘Hoverboard’ Action With Ninebot Mini

19 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Xiaomi Gets in on the ‘Hoverboard’ Action With Ninebot Mini.

During a Xiaomi event today in Beijing, the smartphone maker announced its new scooter, produced in conjunction with Ninebot, the Chinese start-up that acquired Segway earlier this year.

Xiaomi may be better known for its range of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and smart home products, but the China-based electronics manufacturer just aligned itself with the self-balancing scooter fray with the RMB 1,999 ($314) Ninebot Mini.Did you know that Segway is a Chinese company since April, and that it’s partly owned by Xiaomi, the rising star among Chinese smartphone manufacturers and one of the most valuable startups in the world?Xiaomi made its name with affordable Android smartphones, but the Beijing-based company’s future lies in creating a diverse ecosystem of consumer hardware. But instead of handlebars and some sense of stability, Xiaomi’s knee-high device makes the rider look like they’re floating across the ground—much like you would on a hoverboard. The Ninebot Mini was co-developed by Ninebot and Xiaomi, and it’s core selling point is its price — it claims to be around a quarter of the cost of other self-balancing scooters in China.

Its most significant upgrade, however, is a mainboard that connects to the Mi TV’s display with a single wire and can replaced separately without having to buy an entire new smart TV. Though Xiaomi makes TVs, set-top boxes, smartphones, tablets, and routers itself, it traditionally invests in companies to make other products, which include things like power banks, headphones, and water purifiers. Some of these are even officially available to buy in the U.S. and Europe, though Xiaomi has yet to give its flagship smartphones the green light in the West.

From a business strategy standpoint, the scooter is more notable because it is the first product launched by Ninebot, a Xiaomi portfolio company, since it acquired Segway in April, and also Xiaomi’s first personal mobility device. For these ‘other’ products, Xiaomi may contribute in a number of ways — this could be through giving ideas and resources, and providing its online store (Mi.com) as a sales conduit. 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 connected scooter also syncs with Xiaomi’s smartphone app, which lets users remotely control the mini, view the speedometer, and check battery life.

Ninebot claims that the scooter, which weighs 12.8 kilograms, can travel 22 kilometers on a single charge, reach speeds of up to 16 kilometers per hour, and go up 15 degree slopes. In addition to its investment in Ninebot, Xiaomi has also invested in smart bike maker Yunmake and reportedly has set its sights on building an electric car. Those not in the market for a whole new set can pick up the 999 Yuan ($157) Mi TV Bar, which turns ordinary televisions, displays, and projectors into smart TVs. 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).

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