The Segway Is Back, and Now It’s a Hoverboard
When dumb transportation fads collide.
In an attempt to claw its way back to relevance that carries only a whiff of desperation, Segway is launching a new mode of transportation designed to appeal to the young, tech-hungry consumers of 2016. The company calls it the miniPRO. But you'll call it a hoverboard.
It's not one of those eye-poppingly awesome hoverboards that actually hovers above the ground, of course. The miniPRO, which is formally known as the "Ninebot by Segway miniPRO," shares its basic principles with those cheap plastic hunk-o'-junks every other teen-ager seemed to be rolling around on back in the summer of 2015.
Unlike those simple, inflammable machines, however, the 28-pound miniPRO has a pair of aces up its sleeve: It's one of the first such devices to meet new U.S. safety standards...and it has the heart of a Segway. Tucked beneath that magnesium alloy chassis lies a computer controlling Segway's proprietary "black technology," which enable the miniPRO's rider to roll around with the ease and grace of Paul Blart.
The miniPRO differs from regular hoverboards in other ways. The pneumatic 10.5-in tires offer a softer ride than the hard wheels cheaper gadgets roll around on. It's equipped with automatic headlights mounted at Converse height, along with customizable LED taillights. And most obviously, there's an adjustable fence post with a pair of soft knee braces mounted on either side of it, designed to help riders steer more easily. Segway calls it the "Knee Control Bar." We call it "Accidental Testicle Destroyer."
Segway claims the miniPRO can roll up to 14 miles on a single charge and hit a top speed of 10 mph, thanks to its 800-watt dual motor design. The design is waterproof and dustproof, enabling it to handle anything from the Rainforest Cafe to Outback Steakhouse. And should you be so lazy that you can't even walk across a room to fetch your personal walking replacement device, the miniPRO can be remote-controlled via smartphone app.
The Segway miniPRO is currently available for pre-order exclusively on Amazon, with deliveries scheduled to begin on June 29. If you order now, Segway will even knock $300 off the price, bringing it down to the almost-reasonable cost of $999.