-- China's Ninebot may have just made the Segway cool.
Ninebot showed off its first new scooter today since the company, which counts smartphone maker Xiaomi among its backers, acquired Segway in April. Segway, of course, is known for being most popular with mall security teams and tour groups. It continues to operate under the Segway name.
The first offspring of the Ninebot and Segway union is the Ninebot Mini, a self-balancing scooter that looks a lot like a sleeker, less bulky version of the Segway. A knee-high steering stick lets the rider navigate using their body weight to lean forward to move ahead and backwards to retreat, while the lever can be moved with the person's lower leg muscles to signal whether they want to go left or right, according to the company's website, which adds the personal transportation robot can move as fast as 10 mph.
A mobile tie-in allows users to control and lock the Ninebot Mini using an app, and also sends an alert if the scooter is moved while it is in lock mode.
The Ninebot Mini has a $316 price tag, making it a much more affordable and portable scooter for people who could never get on board with the idea of paying thousands of dollars for a Segway. The bad news: The scooter is being released in China next month, but it's unclear if or when Ninebot plans to bring it to customers in the United States.