Segway rode into CES 2016 on a hoverboard-like two-wheeled scooter that led a double life as a functional robot. Now, that device (well, a subtle reimagining of it) has a name and is even available to pre-order in the US, Canada and Mexico.
Meet the Ninebot by Segway miniPRO, or just miniPRO for short (for those curious, Ninebot – which is a subsidiary of Chinese tech titan Xiaomi – acquired Segway in April 2015 for an undisclosed sum).
The miniPRO may not look all that different from the sea of hoverboards already on the market but it does have a few things going for it.
For starters, it has the Segway name. Some may not see this as an advantage but the brand is well-known, even among non-techies. In stark contrast to the competition, the miniPRO also features a pair of 10.5-inch inflatable tires rather than solid rubber variants. The ability to adjust tire pressure to compensate for the type of terrain you normally ride on certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.
This version of Segway’s scooter features a padded knee control bar that rises up from the center of the board, something the company says allows for improved maneuverability.
Segway’s device has also earned the UL’s 2272 safety certification, a stricter guideline implemented by the US government following reports of several hoverboard fires over the past year. The scooter also includes headlights, taillights and even a battery indicator – premium features you may not find elsewhere. It even carries an IPX4 dustproof and weatherproof rating.
The miniPRO is powered by a lithium-ion battery that’s good for up to 14 miles of range at a top speed of 10 mph. By connecting the rideable to your mobile device, you can view diagnostics, customize the lighting, enable an anti-theft alarm and even remotely control the scooter a la Tesla’s Summon feature.