Six months ago, Segway glided back onto the world stage at CES 2016 with the new hoverboard competitor which, at various times, has been called “Segway” “Ninebot,” and the “Ninebot mini.”
But it’s now called the Ninebot by Segway miniPRO, or “miniPRO” for short. It’s also arriving in the U.S. on June 1, which is, by some measures, months ahead of schedule.
SEE ALSO: The rise and fall of the hoverboard
On pre-order today, the miniPRO is nominally a Segway, a brand and product that was the brainchild of maverick inventor Dean Kamen. Since he unveiled the mobility device that was supposed to change the face of human transportation, the brand and company have changed hands multiple times. Segway/Ninebot is now a subsidiary of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi.
The new product, which resembles the Segway we checked out in January, features Segway’s signature (and contested) self-balancing technology. And while most hoverboards also feature a platform, two wheels and some intelligence, the miniPRO differs in a few significant ways.
Instead of a pair of solid rubber wheels, the miniPRO has a pair of inflatable, 10.5 inch tires, which may change the ride feel. In addition, there’s a stem that sticks up from the middle, which Segway calls a Knee Control Bar. It’s designed to sit neatly between your knees and give the rider a level of stability and, perhaps, control that they might not find with existing self-balancing boards (hoverboards).
The other big difference is that the miniPRO is truly part robot — it can be remote controlled via the free app.
Segway rates the miniPRO to go 14 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery and at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. Swagway’s new Swagtron can, according to the company, last for 20 miles on a charge.
Of course, the only way miniPRO can ship into the U.S. is by adhering to the new, stricter UL certifications. The U.S. government set those safety regulations after a rash of hoverboard fires last year. Segway’s product was among the first to get the new UL 2272 safety certification. Other safety features include headlights and backup lights and a battery indicator.
The rider also includes app-based anti-theft technology that will launch an alarm if someone other than you tries to move your miniPRO.
The pre-sale is live on Amazon right now and Segway says deliveries could happen as soon as the end of June.