Segway is back. At least according to the 1,255 Indiegogo backers of the company’s latest product, the Drift W1.
The Segway product you’re probably most familiar with is the Segway PT, which the company launched in 2001. It became a record failure after only selling 30,000 units in the six years after its launch, and today it’s mostly synonymous with mall security guards, tourists, and Gob Bluth. Three years after Segway Inc. was acquired by Ninebot Inc. for $80 million, the company–now known as Segway-Ninebot–has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new product it describes as “new-age e-skates.” Please, take a look:
The Drift W1, which you can get as a “super early bird” special for $369 but will otherwise cost $499, is a pair of eight-pound, electrically powered rubber wheels, each topped by a foot-sized platform. A bit like the hoverboards that took the world by storm in 2013, you balance on these platforms while the devices’ electronic gyroscopes interpret your body movements to steer. Going full speed, you’ll be cooking along at 7.5 miles per hour, or three times faster than walking, according to Segway.
Think of the Drift W1 as a marriage between the original Segway and hoverboards. But unlike the former, the Drift W1 is clearly being marketing to the young people who were wild for the latter; the company’s marketing material cites early reviewers describing them as “Hoverboard shoes,” and the industrial design features bright LED lights.
Unsurprisingly, as electric scooters, Onewheels, and longboards gain popularity amongst urban commuters, Segway is also angling for commuters as well as young people, pointing out that the skates are easy to carry and suited for trains and planes. Casey Neistat notes on the fundraiser page that they’ll be “amazing in an airport.”
While they may be easy to mock, who knows? Considering the way $150 hoverboards sold like hot cakes and current demand for alternative modes of transit in cities (not to mention the fact that the company has raised almost 3,000% of its original goal) it’s possible they’ll be a smash success. At the very least, if we’re lucky, we’ll eventually get to watch Will Arnett ineptly roll around on Drift W1s, too.