I’ve attended an unreasonably large number of tech company product launches in my time, but I’ve never been to anything as product-packed as the event that Chinese tech manufacturer LeEco held at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts this morning, marking its first serious attempt to get attention in the U.S.
The company showed off two phones. (Makes sense.) And some TVs. (In China, it’s a major player.) And a VR headset. (Join the crowd!) And a smart bike. (Hey, kind of cool.) And—an autonomous car. (Which, LeEco CEO Jia Yueting explained, at some length, had been in an accident en route and therefore couldn’t drive itself down a runway and onto the stage as planned.)
I’m not even going to mention some of the peripheral stuff that the event included, such as a video service called LeEco Live and The Great Wall, an upcoming LeEco-produced movie starring Matt Damon—although I guess I just did.
LeEco, whose name incorporates a Chinese word for joy, “Le,” rather than having French origins, envisions consumers buying many LeEco products that work well together because the company took full responsibility for integrating them. For now, it’ll be interesting to see whether its Le Pro3 phone and Le S3 phones can get any traction at all in the U.S.—an aspiration that hasn’t been a cakewalk for other Chinese phonemakers.