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Buy a Segway... Please

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the it-will-change-the-world-ha-ha dept.

Toys 836

aedunn writes "Wired has an article about everyone's favorite Human Transporter - Segway. Seems as though the company is looking at some hard times. Among other things, the article cites Segway's price, low speed and tightened spending in the corporate world as reasons for Segway's slow sales."

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first post (-1, Offtopic)

subk (551165) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334735)


Jesus Saves! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334739)

Ask Jesus into your heart today!

The ONLY Way, Truth and Life!

Re:Jesus Saves! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334933)

Indeed he does, but why does he need a Segway? He can translocate by will alone, after all.

Think man, think!!!

I think we all (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334742)

knew this was going to happen. It's the dotcom bubble all over again; useless products at high prices, with expectations inflated by hype and spin. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

this just in (5, Funny)

trb (8509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334744)

A company with an overpriced useless product and no business plan is having trouble surviving. Film at 11.

Re:this just in (5, Funny)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334825)

Yeah, what do they think this is, the '90s?

Re:this just in (3, Insightful)

rushiferu (595361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334844)

Hey! In all fairness they do have a business plan:

1. Overhype a useless product.
2. A miracle occurs.
3. Profit!!!

I wonder what type of business degree you need to come up with such complex business strategies?

Re:this just in (5, Insightful)

stinky wizzleteats (552063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334878)

A company with an overpriced useless product and no business plan is having trouble surviving. Film at 11.

Actually, he had a business plan. He makes accessibility machines for people who are disabled. His stair climbing machine, Fred Estaire, gave rise to the name of Segway, "Ginger". The plan was basically this - selling Fred Estaires to disabled people restricts your target market. Ginger could be marketed to anyone, so the market would be immensely larger. The flaw is that this equipment is expensive to design and manufacture, which makes its price point well outside the range of what fully mobile people would consider paying for a simple vehicle. Disabled people will spend four figures on something that restores lost mobility and independence. Other people won't drop that much cash on what is for them a toy.

Re:this just in (2, Insightful)

scoove (71173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334911)

overpriced useless product

East/west coast yuppie people (I'm stereotyping, I know!) apparently don't seem to know that times are tough in other parts.

As a broadband provider to part of fly-over country, I can attest that things are tight. I just had a fellow who's been overanxious for broadband to come to his town announce yesterday that he's "holding off, paying down a few credit cards, and taking it cautiously with the war coming and all the new taxes they're dumping on us."

People have done an amazing job cutting luxuries, and are even tightning the belt on necessities. Tons of layoffs to bump stock prices and all the other factors have finally done their trick. It's ultimately self-defeating though.

Certainly Segway knew it was a luxury item, right? (Yea, I know, "everyone's gotta have one" culture inside, right?)


Read about 'em (3, Informative)

giminy (94188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334745)

Tis a shame that the economy has hit a downturn, but there's an interesting site that a happy owner has up, about how he's losing weight and saving money with his: The book of Seg [bookofseg.com] .

Re:Read about 'em (2, Informative)

tbmaddux (145207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334861)

...interesting site that a happy owner has up, about how he's losing weight and saving money with his...
He's only got a 7-mile 1-way commute, and while he asserts he "cannot use a bike" for his commute, he provides no reason why. He'd lose more weight and save even more money if he biked.

Re:Read about 'em (3, Interesting)

jjjefff (525754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334862)

so... he talks about saving $582 so far, and then mentions that $490 of that is from not having to pay a car payment or insurance... even neglecting the fact that he's only ridden it half a month but is including the whole month's car fees, is anyone else out there crazy enough to believe that a segway is actually a good replacement for a car??? a segway is a replacement for fat people's legs and staminas. not for a car.

Re:Read about 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334865)

there's an interesting site that a happy owner has up, about how he's losing weight

How can he be losing weight when he's so lazy he spent thousands of dollars on something so he doesn't have to be bothered with WALKING?

Oh, right, no money left to buy food. Never mind.

charging costs (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334900)

"our car gets about 21 (18 city) miles per gallon, so i've saved about 5-6 gallons of gas in 100 miles / 14 days. as of today gas was about $1.71 per gallon, so that's 5 x $1.71 = $8.55. the car i gave up when i got t the segway ht got about the same mpg, so i think it's fine to use our current car figures. in other areas of the country, the price of gas might be lower or higher."

And how much does it cost to charge up the segbeast?

Re:Read about 'em (1, Flamebait)

Junky191 (549088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334940)

You do of course know that this site is paid advertisment for the segway- this guy is a paid spokesman. Its amazing how advertisements are passed off as news or something else more and more often these days, and noone seems to notice.

Re:Read about 'em (2, Informative)

Spunk (83964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334943)

We've seen that site before [slashdot.org] , and frankly it reeks of astroturfing [slashdot.org] .

It's no wonder (2, Insightful)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334752)

What a time to try selling these things, right when the Northeast US has been hit by blizzard-like snows. Not so Segway-friendly, I imagine. Probably the #1 reason why I thought they were a bad idea in the first place.

Blizzard Friendly? (1)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334920)

How many vehicles are good to drive in a blizzard? Bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles with low ground clearance all suck when it gets deep and slippery. For those people that don't drive cars (two wheels are plenty for me) winter in general sucks, but you find ways to make it work.

Perhaps (4, Funny)

Duds (100634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334754)

People don't like wobbling down the sidewalk looking bloody stupid after all.

They might as well give away a big red hat that says "Tool"

Re:Perhaps (4, Interesting)

antibryce (124264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334871)

People don't like wobbling down the sidewalk looking bloody stupid after all.

They might as well give away a big red hat that says "Tool"

So how exactly do you explain that stupid scooter phenomenon a couple years ago? Personally, I'd love a Segway, but I'd need mass transit to get me the rest of the way. Then I wouldn't need a car at all.

Re:Perhaps (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334957)

You wore a helmet. No-one saw your face :P


Yeah I agree though, historically the segway is probably closer to the Sinclair C5.

Shocking! (0, Interesting)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334755)

Gee, a company producing an overpriced, overhyped scooter of dubious legality for city use is having trouble selling it? What an utter surprise.

How about the fact... (4, Insightful)

glrotate (300695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334756)

That they're rather pointless and only marginaly more usefull than a $50 bike?

Old people (3, Interesting)

Degrees (220395) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334895)

Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes rode one, and loved it. I could see it as a great product for old people who can't drive, still need to get to the market, and don't want to go too fast.

Yes the price is a problem. And younger people would be willing to ride a bike. But my grandma could handle one of these things, and it would actually be a big help to her. She is otherwise stranded at home, dependent on taxis, neighbors, or public transportation (which in the wide- flat- towns of central California is problematic at best.)

It's the economy, stupid! (5, Interesting)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334757)

You think anybody really NEEDS a Segway? I'm sure most people who WANTED a Segway (not many) have more important things to spend their money on now, if they are even still employed.

Also, something I just wondered about as I looked outside and see the 30' mountains of snow the plow guy made in our parking lot: how does this thing handle in inclement weather? What happens if I hit a puddle or ice on the sidewalk?

Thank God (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334758)

I have been saying since day one that this is one of the worst inventions I have ever seen. I'd love to see a segway owner try to get around Manhattan this week. The only value I have seen in something like this is possibly for mailmen who normally walk their route or in large warehouses. Those are pretty niche groups and I don't see anybody making a huge profit from them.

These are DOA (-1, Redundant)

haus (129916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334760)

They have no apparent advantage over a bicycle for the vast majority of people. Especially when you take cost into consideration.

Re:These are DOA (1)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334888)

And a bike is A LOT lighter. Eighty pounds? Come on! This rules out me (I'm a reasonably stong girl, but not so strong as to want to lug 80 lbs. into my office stairs).

No surprise (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334762)

Who did they think would by one of these? Corporates? Until suits see everyone else riding one they'll keep away. Suburbanites? They wont get you anywhere - you need an SUV to travel. Kids/Students? Can't afford it. Urban? Sidewalks are too crowded, and too slow for roads.

Basically, imagine the limited marketshare that scooters/rollerblades/skateboards occupy (as transportation, not as stunt vehicles), then make it way more expensive.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334796)

You could spend US$ 100000000 engineering an electric scooter to balance on two wheels or you could spend $ 80.37 engineering on a third or fourth wheel. Which would you choose?

This will change the way we build cities! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334764)

Hi, I'm Steve Jobs. Apple bought me a nice plane, and I return the favor by renting it back to them! I hope they buy me a Segway, so I can rent that back to them too! I was hoping those cheapskates would give me one after I said something nice about them, but no dice. Those things look really useful for crowded sidewalks - why, I could take up the room of 3-4 people and be going just as slow!

Hey, I only make $1/year! Gimmie some toys!

I almost bought one... (4, Funny)

swordboy (472941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334767)

I almost bought one and then I realized that I could get a bicycle for a fraction of the cost.

And it is more fun to recharge the power source for the bicycle.

Seriously... How lazy can people be? They should give these things away to people that buy Hummer H2s (read:idiots).

Re:I almost bought one... (1)

UTPinky (472296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334830)

"and then I realized..."

What kind of bikes were you looking at?!?

Re:I almost bought one... (0)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334956)

What's wrong with the Hummer H2, and what about it would make the buyer an idiot?

Is it that you can't afford one?

wake up! (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334768)

"I wouldn't have predicted the mountain would be so big," Kamen says, "and that there would be so many hills to cross to get to the top."

This guy makes more money than I do?

I've only seen those things in use in bad sitcoms. They're ugly, awkward, expensive, and completely unneccessary for living today. I've seen fifth graders come up with better inventions.

The FIRST mistake they made was (4, Insightful)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334770)

The fact that you have to STAND while riding a Segway!

If they just stuck a seat on it everything would be different.

Re:The FIRST mistake they made was (4, Funny)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334842)

If they just stuck a seat on it everything would be different.

And pedals, for when the battery runs down. Hey wait...

Re:The FIRST mistake they made was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334863)

The electic bikes sold quite well...

Re:The FIRST mistake they made was (1)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334853)

Well said... If I can't use a product by draping my obese carcass over it, then I'm not going to use it at all.

Are we really so lazy?

Re:The FIRST mistake they made was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334891)

I'm not sure they make seats big enough for the fat arses for Americans.

Re:The FIRST mistake they made was (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334896)

"If they just stuck a seat on it everything would be different."

Huh? Then it would be just like those little go-carts that are provided for use by the elderly and disabled in supermarkets. Why would we want to buy, and drive, one of those? The point of standing is to occupy less space, while not looking like a lazy or disabled person.

why would someone buy one? (1)

ianjk (604032) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334774)

I would feel like a tool scooting around on one of those. Not to mention it is expensive, heavy, slow, and ugly.

How about the fact that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334775)

they are stupid? Its like the fat chick - scooter saying. Maybe sell them over in Africa, Europe,or China and that entire population rolling around.

Is this honestly a surprise? (5, Insightful)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334776)

The Segway, no matter how advanced it is, is not something people were anxious to have. Maybe there are uses for it, but people don't see them, and they don't want them.

Toss in the down economy, and it's no surprise.

I don't think the plans for selling Segway were any more than "it's so cool and the guy behind it has a great reputation," and that is NOT enough.

It's basic economics.

Re:Is this honestly a surprise? (2, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334913)

and of course it wasn't the plain fact that his invention sucked ass. He's going to blame the poor economy as the reason it failed...

I have absolutely no desire to ride around on this thing. The videos I watched were a) scary, made me feel like I was watching a bunch of motorized lemmings, b) stupid as hell, everyone looked like a fucking dork riding on them.

Let's appeal to human laziness! Yah, that doesn't work all the time.

Uh.. (0, Funny)

Rob-sif (193902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334777)

"Segway's price, low speed and tightened spending"

Low speed?!?! AFAIAC, doing more than 10mph on one of those things would mean a large number of underpants changes along the way.

Stirling engine? (2, Interesting)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334784)

Read the article. I see Wired is still bandying about vocabulary with abandon.

So, anyone outside of Wired's offices know what a Stirling engine is?

Re:Stirling engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334822)

Duh! What are you an idiot?

Re:Stirling engine? (4, Informative)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334824)

Re:Stirling engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334870)


Re:Stirling engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334839)

http://www.stirlingengine.com/faq/one?scope=public &faq_id=1

Re:Stirling engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334875)


Re:Stirling engine? (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334876)

"So, anyone outside of Wired's offices know what a Stirling engine is?
Yeah, anyone who can type "Stirling engine" into Google. Here, I'll make it easy for you: How A Stirling Engine Works [howstuffworks.com]

Re:Stirling engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334892)

I've seen one at the Iowa energy fair last year. They had a whole bunch made out of coffee cans, tin cans, various trinkets. Sold for about $40-120 and was powered by a candle and moved various widgets when going. Kinda neat. Every scince/physics teacher should have one to astound and amaze students.
Also a great way to explain why energy efficiant engines are not used for much besides moving widgets at a slow pace.

Re:Stirling engine? (5, Informative)

robolemon (575275) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334902)

A Stirling engine is an motor driven by two plates that are held (somehow) at a temperature difference. I have seen several, including one that was driven by the heat coming off my hand.

The benefit to a Stirling engine is that any type of heating process can lead to motion.

I actually learned this while visiting DEKA (Dean Kamen's research and development company that created the Segway). They were developed by a man named Stirling sometime in the 1800s, I believe.

Re:Stirling engine? (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334960)

Try Microprocessor Designs [updesigns.com] . These are the guys who actually designed and built the brains behind the Segway HT, on contract from DEKA. They are also working on the advanced controls necessary for DEKA's Stirling engine.

In fact, these guys built Dean's dialysis unit, too. Pretty much DEKA's go-to guys for embedded work.

I spoke with Jeff, the president of Microprocessor Designs, a couple months ago (we were discussing job prospects). He seemed enthusiastic about the Segway and Dean's ideas (well, they do get cash money from every Deanstorm), but I think the Stirling engine is going to have the best chance of widespread use.

Ha ha (5, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334790)

Its funny, if he hadn't had such high expectations, he could have a small but profitable and growing company, it sounded like he had orders for 10 per week or 520 per year, if he had not leased a 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, and planned to revolutionize the world selling thousands a week, which increased his fixed costs, and the numbers he needed to sell to be profitable, this would be a completely different story. Google did it right, grow at a sustainable rate, and do not try to get too big too fast.

Very Handy in the Snow! (1)

gurnb (80987) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334793)

I'm sure that a Segway is very usefull on the East Coast right now. With all of that snow, the sidewalks are virtually empty.

These things will end up as a rental device at places like the Boardway in Atlantic city, of in Panama City Beach in the summertime.

I'm already looking on Ebay to get one cheap.

uhh ... (1)

wobblie (191824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334801)

How about the stupid name, and the gaffe of using the acronym "SHT"?

Good idea, bad timing (1)

CainX (592555) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334804)

For a smart guy Kamen really dropped the ball on this one. He should have waited for his miniature Stirling engine to be ready for production, and for the computer hardware required to balance the thing to be much, much cheaper. Exactly what target market was he aiming for with an 80lb. $5000 scooter?

Its neither here nor there (0, Troll)

shamitbagchi (641092) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334806)

Seems the Segway is not yet appropriate for this age, neither for long distances nor like a bike - its more of a 'F L A S H Y' item - no real utility I guess - nor the necessary speed . . . Though at first sight ppl may get bowled over - the auto-balancing mechanism using gyroscopes though is indeed a unique mechanism for personal transport as they call - UPON THAT ITS ONLY FOR INDIVIDUALS ALL THIS ADDS FUEL TO FIRE AND YOU HAVE SEGWAY IN TROUBLE READ MORE [blogspot.com] Read More

Wow (-1)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334807)

"Segway's price, low speed and tightened spending"

I knew it wouldn't sell the day they announced it, as did everyone here. Glad they did some marketing research before blindly following a "genius" inventor.

Product in search of a market (3, Interesting)

jj_johny (626460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334809)

Honestly, I have no idea how these folks thought that we need these things. Its great technology and a rather good job of engineering but most people need to walk more not less. And where can you use them? Not too many places. Like Steve Jobs said in the future cities will be designed around these. Well they aren't now and so its really a techno brag instead of being useful.

As for other markets, when I worked in a industrial plant in the Netherlands, the foreman and others who had to go a long distance had bikes with banana seats. Very low tech but usable.

And I don't think that too many folks in the NE of the US are going to be able to use theirs for several weeks.

Geez Louise (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334810)

Seriously, who didn't expect this idea to tank?? An overpriced scooter with far too embarrasing publicity stunts and too much pre-production hype for it's own good.

Duhh (1)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334815)

Nobody without loads of cash to blow is ever going to buy one of these unless the price was in the sub $500 range. You can buy a powered scooter for that price ($500 or cheaper) that will take you to your destination just as fast if not faster and you can actually carry it as it doesn't weigh more than 20-30 pounds if that. A $50 bike will just as much and are generally accepted in most places and most people learn how to ride a bike during childhood so its not such a hard thing to do. I'm sorry, but the Segway will never work like they hoped as its just not what people need.

Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334819)

It will change the world by making everyone look like idiots! Even drunk homeless guys move faster than you! And it costs as much as a good PC!

No thanks! I'm already an idiot! I dont need that device!

Forget that (1)

Synithium (515777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334821)

I'm getting a 65" Digital Widescreen. Beat that one Dean!

The Brits could have predicted this... (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334823)

Back in the early/mid eighties in the UK there was a scientist/inventor/businessman called Clive Sinclair. He had a string of successes in consumer electronics, starting with a digital watch and progressing to home computers. One of his final products was a revolutionary electric one person "car", incorporating lots of new and clever technology. It was predicted that it would be huge success, as where most of his other products. But it was a dismal failure. Nobody wanted one. It looks like history is repeating...

Re:The Brits could have predicted this... (1)

shippo (166521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334894)

Sinclair did manage to sell around 16,000 C5s worldwide. I doubt that the Segway will ever acheive anything like this.

Re:The Brits could have predicted this... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334948)

Really? The sales figures given here [demon.co.uk] don't look so good. But even if you are right, compared to their original predictions, 16k is a tiny number.

Segway must die (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334828)

It is a stupid idea. Always was. Tewnty years ago a British man named Clive Sinclair had an idea for revolutionizing transportation. He invented a small electric bike that had a range similar to that of Segway and was powered by an electric battery. It was a spectacular failure that ultimately ended his once successful Sinclair Research corporation.

Segway is going to die the same way C5 did despite it's enormous marketing budget. People have voted with their wallets against silly "inventions" like this in the past and they will do it again. If I were Kaman I'd try to start cutting losses now before he has to move out of his beautiful mansion.

Can't take it with you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334829)

Don't forget it's too expensive and too light to leave lying around. So where am I going to store the chain (and the groceries) while I'm TOOLing it around to the corner store and back?

Not to mention we don't have sidewalks in SubZeroBurbia.

buy a segway on amazon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334833)

and kill two... help two struggling technology startups with one purchase [amazon.com] :D

Hype + Stupid Idea = ? (1)

Root Down (208740) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334835)

the article cites Segway's price, low speed and tightened spending in the corporate world

...equals early sales and then - nada. So I can spend thousands of dollars to go as fast as I normally do only to put up with the annoyance of having to store the thing when I arrive at my destination? Super. Let me get my checkbook.

What they really need is a performance boost... Take the auto industry. We spend billions each year buying cars that go a bazillion miles an hourt (despite the 65 MPH speed limit) and rugged SUVs that can climb mountains just so we can can feel safe picking up the groceries. I say put a high performance chip in there, some racing stripes, steel spikes to ward off pesky lo-tech pedestrians and some oversized rims - then you're looking at something to feature in the next Vin Deisel film. ;)

Segway Marketing Idea.... (1, Funny)

Dragon213 (604374) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334838)

Put a rocket motor on it, change the name to something military-sounding (like Vehicle, Personal, All-terrain, Rocket-assisted) and sell it to Sadam Hussien! Take care of two birds with one stone :p

Can't replace walking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334841)

So someone builds a machine to replace walking, and they are having trouble selling it?

Go figure.

Corporate Spending Will Improve, Segway Will Live! (1)

mosch (204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334843)

As the economy recovers, corporate spending is again on the rise, and with it will come the rise of the Segway. Truly, the Segway will change the way we walk to the cafeteria and the bathroom!

Poor Segway. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334846)

No one is buying their personal transporter and they're losing loads of money. Which gives me a nice segue to mention fuckedcompany.com [fuckedcompany.com]

It'll sell (1)

nesneros (214571) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334847)

When we "re-design cities around it" (Steve Jobs, if I'm not mistaken). Once we re-design all our cities, I'm sure they'll be selling like hotcakes.

Re:It'll sell (2, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334949)

1) Build very expensive motor-scooter with auto-balance
2) Redesign all cities around it
3) Profit!

Wait a minute... (3, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334851)

I thought they were not selling these to the general public yet. Rather, only to business and municipalities and such. If not, then perhaps they should try something that all the cool businesses are doing nowadays: ADVERTISE! MARKETING! BTW: I said when I first saw this thing that it was not going to be a big hit. It's a scooter! Yes, it is probably the most revolutionary scooter. Yes, it is cool technology. Yes, it would be neat to own won. But it's still a $3K+ scooter! The general public will not get past that. Replace the car? Hardly! Joe Dirt has no where to carry his case of Bud. >

slow sales my ass... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334854)

Perhaps Segway should have found a use (i.e. market) for their product before forecasting sales...sounds to me like sales are right on pace for a ridiculously expensive novelty product.

I'm sure it will eventually lead to some great advance but the current incarnation is trash, hence the current company is probably destined for the trash heap as well.

But.... (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334855)

...but.... Smegways explode when they tip over [sluggy.com] .

Market Backlash (4, Insightful)

rob_from_ca (118788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334856)

Anothe strike against the company, backlash from all the hype. We were promised an earth shattering, mind blowing, world changing "it" of an invention. "Something people would design cities around." Instead we get an expensive scooter that you can't take with you on public transit, use on many city streets, drive on the street, or fit in your car to take with you. After a year of magical mystery hype about this wonderful invention and "leaks" about the nature of it, even if it cost $50, I'd probably not buy one out of spite.

Segway's foolish strategy (1)

release7 (545012) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334867)

Even IF the Segway is the greatest revolution in transportation since the automobile, it wasn't very smart to sink millions and millions of dollars into a huge hype campaign, lobbying efforts, and a factory devoted to cranking out 10,000 units a day before there was a demand. The automobilie industry didn't start out that way but rather grew more organically. When people saw the first saw a car roll down the street I'm sure they thought, "Wow! I've GOT to have one!" The rest took care of itself.

Then again, maybe the Segway they HAD to put on a dog and pony show because when people see it they probably think, "Wow! That guy riding the Segway looks like a dork!"

Take my Segway...please! (5, Funny)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334872)

Dean Kamen is a genius! I mean, a motorized scooter? It's brilliant! Society will be revolutionized!

Think of the benefits: Less people driving cars! Unless more than one person wants to travel, and unless they want to carry luggage or groceries or anything else for that matter, or if they want to listen to the radio while they travel, or if they want to go more than a dozen or so miles...hmm, lets try this again.

Think of the benefits: Easier personal transport! Unless you run into a flight of stairs, or uneven or wet ground, or want to travel for longer than 45 minutes after which you'll have to lug it around with you like so much dead weight...hmmm, this isn't working either.

How about this: The Segway is amazing! For only $5000 you can get a motorized scooter that allows you to roll where you once walked! That is truly revolutionary, unless you count the bicycle, rollerskates, rollerblades, skateboards, wheelchairs, non-motorized scooters...Aww forget it, I give up!

justice for an ethically flawed product? (1, Insightful)

vnv (650942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334879)

it will be good riddance if segway goes away.

while people all over the world rely on the bicycle to get around -- and get some exercise -- only a greedy and fat US company would dare offer a $5000 no-exercise pod mobile.

you can also think of a segway as a little coal power plant. the power electricity we use, the more pollution. or if you don't like coal, how about a nuclear power plant? it certainly doesn't run on solar power.

segway's leverage of the corrupt government markets is another part of this company's devious business plan. by making industrial models that sell for far more than the standard $5000 model and then getting the public to pay for them.

maybe the many millions of dollars that went into segway and all the hype could have used to build more bikepaths and walkways?

all in all, a segway is nothing but a expensive toy that meets no actual societal needs. it is antoher remnant of the dotcom era meeting its just demise.

Re:justice for an ethically flawed product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334907)

Well i thought it was stupid (see my slow sales my ass post above) but now that you point out that a fat lazy american could use it to avoid excercise...well hell, I'm in. =)

Silly Troll.

Naive (1)

Placido (209939) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334886)

>> ...as reasons for Segway's slow sales.

Maybe I'm naive but I don't understand how sales of the Segway can resemble anything other than the pace of continental shift.

Belay that... continental shift is faster than what I'm imagining. Think "static".

It doesn't matter . . . (3, Interesting)

apeleg (159527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334890)

The Segway is just a ruse, a delaying tactic until the real Ginger [com.com] is released. ;)

Company Based in Manchester, NH? (1)

tbmaddux (145207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334893)

Ha. I'd like to see anyone at that company try to get around on a Segway after the snow we just got in New England.

Huh? (1)

Junky191 (549088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334897)

You mean nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on an electric scooter that makes you more certifiable than a pocket protector? What a shock...

Ginger Anyone? (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334906)

Maybe if they actually sold Ginger they could make money. There is a lot of evidence supporting that the IT-Segway is NOT Ginger.

In other news Sluggy Freelance [sluggy.com] just finished up a Segway spoof strip [sluggy.com] .

What was the target market? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334919)

The Segway thing is another good example of another product that was created at great expense because it seemed a 'cool thing to make' with no thought as to who would actually buy one.

It costs $5000 dollars. Anyone wih 5 grand spare to spend on a Segway would probably rather be seen in their BMW than pootling along the pavement on one of these.

I put this on the pile of "cool ideas that'll never work in the real world" along with picture messaging.

when your product sucks..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334928)


Another possibility (1)

howman (170527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334936)

Perhaps it is not so much the lack of spending in business, or the speed of the unit, perhaps not even the difficulties Segway has faced in California...
On one level, a design standpoint, people might not feel comfortable with the layout of the unit. From the 1800's we have been trained to see a two wheel vehicle with one wheel in front of the other, now Segway comes along and changes the visual and expects people to be comfortable with it. I will equate it with the feeling you get when you arrive at a web page that automatically takes you to full screen with no navigator in sight. I know it is like apples and oranges, but the feeling of discomfort at looking or using something you are not used to on a vernacular level is the same.
Another example is the steering concept Mercedes developed a number of years ago which used two joysticks to control direction, speed and braking. Now in a spaceship, you wouldn't want anything but, as Will Smith showed us in Independance Day, but in a car, although it provided the same control, the comfort level of the driver was its downfall.
Now on another level, the technology has not been proven, well it has but on a very limited scale. How many people do you know personally have used one even once for more than 5 min? Have you used one for more than 5 min?
On the last level, perhaps people have a subconscious adversion to trusting a gyroscope to keep them upright. Intelectually they may trust the science behind it but still feel like they are going to hit a stone and end up looking like one of those liquid filled glass birds drinking out of a glass, or flying off the thing like when they were kids flying down the hill on a skateboard.

I like the segway (5, Informative)

Lord_Pall (136066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334937)

Okay.. I know the segway is pretty useless for day to day life, but I was fortunate enough to actually use one in a few situations during my vacation in december...

Seadream Yacht Club (a cruise line), has 4 segways per ship for passenger use (the ships are very small, so that's actually an okay number).

We went on our cruise the week after they got them, so they were still experimenting with their itinerary. We learned how to use them in nassau, on the pier right off of the ship.

They work exactly as every test driver has stated.. Once you get comfortable on them, you just think about moving forward and you go forward. It's all based off of the weight distribution on your feet. There's a tendency to lean forward to try and make it go faster, but this goes away eventually.

Turning is a little weirder as it's geared off of your hand motion (sort of like a motorcycle throttle). If you are going full speed forward (depending on the key your using to control the max speed), and turn, you're going to fall off. That was something we had to learn to deal with..

Anyhow.. after we learned how to drive them, we got to use them in a heavy pedestrian traffic area.. Key West. We used them for a quick tour of the island, driving on the streets and sidewalks, weaving into and out of traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians flawlessly. They stop on a dime, turn on a dime, and will throw you to the ground on a dime if you're not careful.

For day to day use (for most people), they're completely useless. For people who need to interact with pedestrian traffic, they're great.

The place i'd like to see them used more is in the vacation industry. Seadream is planning on using them for tours of portofino, and other places in europe. This is where it would truly shine.

The last thing that I find a little weird is that Seadream had a decent amount of trouble actually getting segway to talk to them and sell them units. For a company thats having problems moving product, they should probably change their policy in dealin with outside vendors.

Sure they only wanted 8 or 10 of them, but given the clientele and quantity of people who will get to use/see them, it's free advertising.

If they could get them to be a little lighter (under the 86 pounds they're at now), and a little more collapsible (so you could carry it with you on vacation), and made them a little cheaper (1500 bux or so)..

I think they've got a chance.. Otherwise it's just a novelty

"Only 2 per customer", Amazon (1)

SphynxSR (584774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334945)

Guess the swollowed the hype hard. What ever happened to market research. Dreams are fine but we Americans can crush dreams like this in heart beat. Then buy it cheaper in five years at liquidation values.

To be completely honest.... (3, Interesting)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5334952)

...this is the best story Slashdot has posted in a long time. You don't know how happy it makes me to hear that this company is in financial trouble. This was a moronic idea from the start. A friggin $4k+ SCOOTER?

This scooter (and I love calling it that since Dean thinks it shouldn't be called such a demoralizing name) had several problems from the start.

1. Can it keep you warm in the winter? NO
2. Can it keep you cool in the summer? NO
3. Will you be able to take girls out on a date on such a thing? Possibly but no girl will agree to such an arraingement so effectively the answer is NO
4. Will you look cool on such a contraption? Yes for 5 minutes. For the rest of all eternity, NO (and yes this one matters you anti-conformist geeks. Normal people care if they look like geeks and try to avoid doing so.)
5. Is it as cheap as most other scooters? NO
6. Will it get stolen as soon as you park it next to your local trendy cafe? YES
7. Is it awkward? YES.
8. Was it overhyped? YES.
9. Will it in the words of Steven Peter Jobs, CEO and Founder of Apple and CEO of Pixar "change the way cities are built?" NO. Don't listen to Jobs. He knows Macs. He knows animation. He knows nothing else.
10. And top ten on the NDP's list of why the Segway sucks, "FAT MAN ON A LITLE SCOOTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Son of Tsarkon -- In Soviet Russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5334955)

In Soviet Russia, segways buy YOU!
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