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Buy a Segway... Please 836

Posted by michael
from the it-will-change-the-world-ha-ha dept.
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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Buy a Segway... Please

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  • I think we all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:06AM (#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.
    • by dead sun (104217) <aranach@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:31PM (#5336020) Homepage Journal
      Nooooooo! This thing was going to transform our cities, remember? It was the end all be all to our traffic problems! It was to be the revolution for the pedestrian, quick, mobile, and versitile all while being small and able to fit in with pedestrian traffic. We're talking about a new paradigm in efficiency! A new model for transportation!

      Oh how I hate these days where people will gladly pay twenty thousand dollars for a vehicle that will hold them, their family or friends and other stuff like luggage or packages, all the while traveling 50 miles per hour down an open road, but refuse to give even a second thought to paying a quarter of that for a machine that will hold a quarter of the people, if you're lucky a quarter of the stuff, and going a quarter of that speed down the same road. I mean really, the price looks to scale nearly perfectly here.

      What a world we live in...
      • by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:53PM (#5336245) Homepage
        I can imagine trouble just carrying a spare tire, let alone 1/4 the "stuff."

        Really, it's silly. There is hardly a niche for this thing. For short distances I'd rather walk than have to worry about where I'm going to put the bluky scooter when I get to where I'm going. For longer distances a bike is more practical for it's greater speed and manuverability. And of course a 1970 Monte Carlo SS is way cooler for any distance. Zoom zoom.

  • by trb (8509) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:06AM (#5334744)
    A company with an overpriced useless product and no business plan is having trouble surviving. Film at 11.
    • by Neon Spiral Injector (21234) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:15AM (#5334825)
      Yeah, what do they think this is, the '90s?
      • Re:this just in (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wfmcwalter (124904) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:41AM (#5335066) Homepage
        No, they think it's 1985.

        Essentially they're selling a Sinclair C5 with one less wheel, no seat, at seven times the cost.

        It's an interesting marketing lesson, showing that neat technical features don't necessarily turn into value propositions that would make a customer actually want to cough up the money. Its amazon.com page tries in vain to sell it, protesting its uncanny ability to go backwards, go up slopes (gasp!), and even "self balance". The trouble is - people with fully functional legs can do all those things for free right now, and people without generally can't use a segway.

        And Dean - it's five thousand dollars!. I can wear my underpants on my head, shove two pencils up my nose and look like a maniac for free.

        • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

          by madfgurtbn (321041) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:28PM (#5335992)
          Its amazon.com page tries in vain to sell it, protesting its uncanny ability to go backwards, go up slopes (gasp!), and even "self balance". The trouble is - people with fully functional legs can do all those things for free right now, and people without generally can't use a segway.

          Can your fully functional legs carry you 12 mph for 5 miles?

          The self-balance thing is what makes it different from the typical scooter that has a much larger footprint and turning radius, requires active balance by the rider, and generally prevents them from being used by anyone who doesn't have good mobility to begin with.

          I fail to understand the hostility in the responses to Segway. Is it really that threatening to people's sensibility that there might be a real alternative to driving cars on short trips or in places where it is too congested to drive a car. Wasn't it like yesterday that they started charging a usage fee for driving in downtown London? I think it was something like US$8 a day just to enter the busiest part of town in a car, and that doesnt' include parking it once you're there.

          I could be wrong with the figures but wouldn't a Segway pay for itself in a couple years if you could save $8 a day on that one fee alone? ($5000/8=625)
          • Re:this just in (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:46PM (#5336145)
            "I fail to understand the hostility in the responses to Segway. "

            It looks stupid.
            Its the price of a decent (second hand) car.
            Battery power is ridiculous.
            Large&heavy, so hard to stow away once you get where you`re going.

            "wouldn't a Segway pay for itself in a couple years"

            A couple of years? A lot of people don't intend on keeping their cars that long. This is new tech - you think they`re going to be working in 2 years? Where can you get one - online? So you can't check them out first? How about repairs. Advertising the company might have helped - I'm pretty well read on this sort of thing and i`ve not heard about them. Well, I heard the name.

            Which bit didn't you understand again?
          • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Uart (29577) <feedback@life-li ... Ny.com minus dis> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:56PM (#5336277) Homepage Journal
            AH, but most of the market with enough expendable income to afford a Segway (upper middle class +) doesn't live in downtown london. They live in the suburbs.

            New Jersey/Long Island/Other Major Suburban Areas have alot more room, and most of the people living there own cars that are more than handy enough for getting here and there.
          • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Lawbeefaroni (246892) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @02:00PM (#5336321) Homepage
            Can your fully functional legs carry you 12 mph for 5 miles?

            On a bicycle, easily. On foot, at half that speed easily.

            I could be wrong with the figures but wouldn't a Segway pay for itself in a couple years if you could save $8 a day on that one fee alone? ($5000/8=625)

            Or you could buy a really really nice bicycle for half that price (or a really nice one for under 1/5 the price). As an added bonus, you wouldn't be a fat lump looking stupid standing on a self balancing Jetsonesque piece of kitch.
          • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PapaZit (33585) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @02:20PM (#5336553)
            My legs can carry me at 5mph for hours. If the time difference between segway and walking (~20 minutes) in a 5 mile trip really matters that much, I'll drive.

            This product is perfect for people who:
            -Need to travel 5-10 miles (any less and walking's less hassle and doesn't take much longer)
            -Are in enough of a hurry to use powered transport, but not so much of a hurry that they need to drive.
            -Are solvent enough to plunk down $5k IN ADDITION TO a car
            -Are environmentally conscious enough to bother using this instead of a car
            -Live in a flat area (hilly neighborhoods drastically cut battery life)
            -Live in an area that doesn't have regular rain or snow
            -Live in an area with either wide streets or well-maintained sidewalks
            -Can do their travelling in the daytime
            -Live in an area without a decent public transportation system
            -Lives in and travels to areas that provide a safe place to park a segway

            Here in Pittsburgh, there are hills, it rains a lot, it gets dark early this time of year, the roads are narrow and the sidewalks are often cracked, we have a good bus system, and the places that are close enough to reach via a segway don't have any good places to park the thing. I could afford one, and I like the concept, but it's just too much hassle.

            If they really want this thing to take off, they'll work with the parking authorities and malls to provide "segway locks" where people can leave their segways while they shop.
            • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:20PM (#5337810) Homepage
              My legs can carry me at 5mph for hours.

              Really? That's actually quite a brisk clip, you know. And "hours?" Sounds like you're in extraordinary shape. This begs the question: what the heck are you doing reading Slashdot??? :)

              Well, that, or you're lying.

    • Re:this just in (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rushiferu (595361)
      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:19AM (#5334878) Homepage Journal

      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bivouac_2000 (253526) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:34AM (#5335015)
        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.

        This is the dead on truth. When I first saw the unveiling of the Segway my immediate thought was, "This will be great for the disabled" and NOT, "Wow I can't wait to ride on that thing!"

        Kamen erred in attempting to mass market an invention that occupies a niche in the entire scheme of things. Add to that fact design flaws like low top speed, crummy battery life and you have a piece of overpriced junk.

      • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lechter (205925) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:06PM (#5335271)

        Kamen's wheel chair design is excellent and well worth the money for the disabled, since it gives them much greater access to the existing infrastructure by allowing them to climb stairs. And it lets look people in the eye too, which I guess is good.

        Unfortunately with all they hype, the statements that Ginger aka IT would "change the way future cities are designed," good ideas like the wheelchair were lost in the typical dot-com boom of investors trying to join the revolution. Unfortunately revolutions in urban design don't happen, cities are big and people don't like to redesign them very often. (I'd argue that this is why fuel cell/electric/gas/etc. cars will be a long time in coming.)

        The amazing thing is that people "in the know" about what "IT" were willing to join the hype. Oh, well just call this natural evolution in business...

      • by ryanvm (247662) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:17PM (#5335365)
        The plan was basically this - selling Fred Estaires to disabled people restricts your target market. Ginger [Segway] could be marketed to anyone, so the market would be immensely larger.

        No no no - you've got it all wrong. His plan was to get Ginger street legal in all the big cities. Once that happened and they became popular, Segway vs automobile accidents would skyrocket and he'd be rolling in invoices for the real moneymaker - handicapped transportation. Dean Kamen is a tricky, tricky white boy.
    • Re:this just in (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scoove (71173)
      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?)

      *scoove*

  • Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by giminy (94188) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:06AM (#5334745) Homepage Journal
    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 (Score:3, Informative)

      by tbmaddux (145207)
      ...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.
      • by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:26PM (#5335447) Homepage Journal
        He'd lose more weight and save even more money if he biked.
        And probably smell bad.
        • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Insightful)

          by beaverfever (584714)
          "He'd lose more weight and save even more money if he biked."

          He'd definitely lose more weight, but as for the money (and time), it wouldn't be as clear-cut as you suppose. It would depend greatly on the practical lifespan of a segway, which I suppose is still an unknown, and the cost of charging it, which, from what I have read, isn't too much.

          Commuting by bicycle over a medium/long distance gets you to a point where you'd probably want a higher quality bike, some decent riding clothes (they do make a difference), and a means to clean up before getting into the office (showering in a nearby gym, if there is one, for example), and then there's regular maintenance to the bike, all of which add to the cost.

          Also, I'm willing to bet money that most office buildings wouldn't have a problem with someone bringing a segway into their office, but for some reason it is a sin against a higher god to bring a bicycle into many buildings, so having a secure place to keep a bike when commuting is an issue.

          Not that I think riding a bike is a bad idea; I did it almost every day when I lived in california, 1:10 each way, and I loved it (driving, with traffic, bridge tolls etc. took about :45). It wasn't uncommon to not touch my car a week or two at a time. However, the weather in california is very predictable and not a concern for bike commuters. I'll admit that living in the pacific northwest has made me less enthusiastic about riding that much every day.

          Right now (once I find a decent job!) I would definitely consider a segway as a 'second car' for myself and the gfriend, as the fella with the site did. I can't see it being good for long distances, but short/medium, it would be perfect.

      • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bishop (4500)
        Looking at him I would say that he would have gained weight if he had bought a bike. There is nothing like a little exercise in the morning to build up the muscle mass in a hurry.

        For the price of a segway he could have bought a really nice recumbent bike [recumbents.com] or trike [greenspeed.com.au]. Or save a bundle and buy used [recumbents.com].

        Before anyone jumps down my throat: If you can stand for 7 miles on a segway you can ride a bike for the same distance. 7 miles may seem like a long distance, and it will be for the first 2-4 weeks. But it won't be long before you have the muscle mass to do twice that without breaking a sweat.

        I just re-read the specs on the Segway and they suck. Now that I am in some what decent shape my top speed is twice that of the Segway. My regular "cruising" speed is 50% faster. And I probably can beat the Segway's best case max range of 15mi/25km on an empty stomach.

        If you are a person with a disability limiting your mobility I can see a need for a Segway. But for the rest of us a bike commute is not a problem.
    • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jjjefff (525754)
      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 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spunk (83964)
      We've seen that site before [slashdot.org], and frankly it reeks of astroturfing [slashdot.org].
    • Thank you for that link. I really hate to do this to the guy, but:

      This is some video [bookofseg.com] of the thing actually working. He did an interview for his local news station. It's an 18.5 Meg .WMV, though... (and no, I can't get mplayer to play it :-( )

      I'll probably get death threats from him for posting that direct link, but it's REALLY damn cool actually seeing the thing work and move and all that. Y'all really need to see that. I think I'm gonna bag that idea of a trip to the Keys and save up for one of these instead...
    • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:50AM (#5335146)
      Tis a shame that the economy has hit a downturn

      No, don't blame the economy. It's much trendier to blame "global geopolitical conditions" for poor product performance.

      (BTW, the economy's growing healthily; better to blame the stock market.)
    • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Interesting)

      by superdan2k (135614)
      And the dumb bastard would have lost more weight and saved more money by just going out and buying a bicycle!

      Jesus, this thing reeks of being a marketing site paid for by the company...
  • It's no wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gudlyf (544445) <.gudlyf. .at. .realistek.com.> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:07AM (#5334752) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Perhaps (Score:4, Funny)

    by Duds (100634) <dudley&enterspace,org> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:07AM (#5334754) Homepage Journal
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by antibryce (124264) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:19AM (#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.

  • by glrotate (300695) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:08AM (#5334756) Homepage
    That they're rather pointless and only marginaly more usefull than a $50 bike?
    • Old people (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Degrees (220395) <degrees@sbcgl[ ]l.net ['oba' in gap]> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:21AM (#5334895) Homepage Journal
      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.)

    • This comment is insightful, but I would like to point out that they are really marginally less useful than a bicycle. First, see this article [slashdot.org]. Segway was banned in San Francisco... bikes were not. While you cannot ride your bike on a sidewalk, they are much more convenient for street travel than SHT's. A bike is more cheaply and easily repaired. While you can't go riding a bike around the office, I am SURE that your employer would not permit you to drive one of these things around indoors (unless of course you work in a Boeing hanger or something). You don't need a training class with Dean Kamen to ride a bike.

      That doesn't mean they aren't really cool. But I bike is infinitely more practical. We wont see mountain-segways anytime soon, and if I can't ride it in the park, I don't want one.

  • by pulse2600 (625694) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:08AM (#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?

    • This is really interesting question! Segway depends on traction of both wheels to stay upright. If one wheel loses (or lowers) its traction then following things should happen:

      1. The wheel on ice spins up
      2. This won't help the Segway to stay upright, so it tilts forward and turns
      3. The other wheel will try to compensate, and spins up, keeping Segway upright - and turning it even more in the process
      4. You end up spinning around the patch of ice. Now you have following options:
        • The wheel stays on ice. Then you continue spinning. Probably, you will be thrown off of your Segway by centrifugal forces.
        • The wheel regains traction. Then you continue your trip, but in random direction :-)

      No doubt in my mind, Segway is suitable only for perfect weather, and probably for summer only. It was raining this morning, for example, and I was very glad to find myself in a comfortable, warm car instead of a shaking, slippery Segway.

  • Thank God (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:08AM (#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.
  • No surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pxtl (151020) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:08AM (#5334762) Homepage
    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.
    • by apg (66778) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:32AM (#5335001) Homepage

      Basically, imagine the limited marketshare that scooters/rollerblades/skateboards occupy (as transportation, not as stunt vehicles)

      Aw, come on. You know ESPN2 is already planning "Extreme Segway" complete with half pipe and Segway street freestyling.

  • by swordboy (472941) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:09AM (#5334767) Journal
    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).
  • wake up! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:09AM (#5334768) Homepage Journal
    "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.
  • by TerryAtWork (598364) <research@aceretail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:09AM (#5334770)
    The fact that you have to STAND while riding a Segway!

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

  • by Badgerman (19207) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:10AM (#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.
    • 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.
  • Stirling engine? (Score:2, Interesting)

    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?
  • Ha ha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nelsonal (549144) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:11AM (#5334790) Journal
    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.
    • Re:Ha ha (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sulli (195030) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:30AM (#5334985) Journal
      And the guy could have spent less money on lobbying every state in the union to change its traffic laws to accommodate the thing and instead focused on making it just a wee bit cheaper? Just a thought. Powell and Peralta sure didn't worry about legalizing skateboards on the streets of LA - they just sold 'em.
    • Re:Ha ha (Score:5, Interesting)

      by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:53AM (#5335158)
      Google did it right, grow at a sustainable rate, and do not try to get too big too fast.

      While I generally agree with you, bringing up Google as a comparison is a massive stretch. You can't compare a search engine company to one that manufactures relatively expensive products. The needs, requirements, and pitfalls are vastly different. The infrastructure requirements are vastly different, the ability to adapt to market conditions are vastly different, you just can't say "he shoulda did what google did ...".

      Again, I'm not disagreeing with the fact that he got too carried away, but please use a company that has remotely similar requirements/structure to compare against, esp. not Google.
  • 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.
  • How about the stupid name, and the gaffe of using the acronym "SHT"?
  • by jj_johny (626460) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:13AM (#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.

    • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:47AM (#5335116) Homepage
      Like Steve Jobs said in the future cities will be designed around these. Already happening, San Francisco is redesigning thier city by putting up theses 'No Segways allowed.' signs.
    • Its great technology and a rather good job of engineering but most people need to walk more not less.

      In other words: People just aren't willing to even consider giving up The Car. I'm not pointing to you specifically, but people keep pointing out -- WHY NOT WALK. Well, would obviously extend the range / ease of getting to nearby shops etc.

      I think this may have been Mr. Karmen's primary blind spot. He was looking at replacing the car. People see this as "better walking".

      I don't need $3,000 shoes even if they do make my walking twice as easy.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:14AM (#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...
    • I have a very small amount of sympathy for Sinclair over this. The C5 [nvg.ntnu.no] was never the intended end product.

      I remember seeing a documentary about it - basically, the end product was to be a full-sized electric car which could carry four people. However, the company ran out of cash and needed something to sell quickly. Hence the rather quickly thrown-together C5.

      Can still remember its debut on TV. Looked great in the studio, then they showed some live shots of trying to use it in London traffic. I'll never forget the sheer terror on the face of the guy who drove ir down the inside of a large truck...

      Cheers,
      Ian

  • 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.

  • Wait a minute... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:17AM (#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. >
  • Market Backlash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rob_from_ca (118788) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:17AM (#5334856) Homepage
    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.
  • by Toasty16 (586358) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:19AM (#5334872) Homepage
    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!

  • by apeleg (159527) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:20AM (#5334890)
    The Segway is just a ruse, a delaying tactic until the real Ginger [com.com] is released. ;)
  • I like the segway (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord_Pall (136066) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:25AM (#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
  • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:27AM (#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!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • by mj01nir (153067) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:36AM (#5335031)
    Really, the parallels are striking. Secrecy leading up to release that caused rampant speculation. Overhyped to the point that the public really thought that something revolutionary was in the offing. Released at the beginning of an economic downturn.

    And then the let-down. "Oh, it's just a car/scooter." Then people stay away in droves.

    There are many overviews of the history of Edsel. Read this one [edsel.com] or dig up another [google.com] and see if you agree.
  • by AlgUSF (238240) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:39AM (#5335052) Homepage
    Stupidest invention ever. I own a 2002 Honda Civic, let's compare it to the Segway.

    Segway:
    Top Speed: 12MPH
    Range : 10 Miles
    Max Occupants: 1


    Honda Civic:
    Top Speed: 110MPH
    Max Occupants: 5 (Plus a huge trunk for storage)
    Range : Unlimited (or until I run out of gas money)

    Considering my Honda Civic cost only 3 times as much as a segway, and I get much more utility from it. I live in Florida, so an A/C is required (or it is no better than my bike).
  • by elliotj (519297) <slashdot@elliotj ... m ['nso' in gap]> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:43AM (#5335082) Homepage
    I for one am very interested in the Segway. I might even buy one. But I've never, ever, seen one 'in the flesh'. I can't go into a store to buy one. I don't know anybody who has one.

    It's such a new product and so unusual that for people to buy one sight-unseen at this high a price requires a leap of faith that is uncommon amongst consumers.

    This guy needs to put them in stores. Lots of stores. The stores need to let people test ride them. They need to do demonstrations in the streets at lunch time so people can see how cool they are.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see them be a big hit, but the average guy will want to try one first.
  • Goddammit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:48AM (#5335124)
    I get so angry reading the comments posted here about the Segway. Move on if you don't want to read some vitriol. I'm sorry, but it needs to be said.

    Look - the Segway is an attempt to alleviate the total unmitigated disaster that is modern automotive traffic.

    If you could all be so kind as to take a step back.. waaayyy back. Think of cars, particularly in cities. The fatalities. The noise. The pollution. The cost. The traffic. The space they take up. Were a self-respecting geek to examine this system from above, encountering it for the first time, I imagine they would recoil in horror. I can't see it as anything but a giant cluster-fuck.

    Look at New York, downtown. Practically everyone living there would tell you that traffic is nigh-on impossible. But still, we tolerate it. We love our cars. We cannot give them up, not now, not ever... in fact, we want bigger ones!

    People will not come to terms with the fact that the responsible thing to do is to explore these options. We simply must.

    Now, I am fully aware of the Segway's limitations. Obviously it has problems with inclement weather, battery life, etc. Again, I must remind the reader that this is the first of it's kind. The arguments presented against the Segway are often ludicrous:

    - "i can't use my hands".. you can't when you drive either
    - "i've gotta stand up".. that's part of the point, they take up less room
    - "they'll kill people on sidewalks".. amazing, this argument. It's a total non-starter. Anyone on rollerblades or a bike is much more of a danger.

    Come on! We are the ones who should be embracing this! Who's gonna convince Kamen to invent the Segway you really want? You know, the chariot version, that gets 5x the distance, and is 1/5 the price? It cannot get here by itself.

    I'm sorry for the rant, but frankly the blank-faced pessimism disgusts me. Where is your sense of wonder, Slashdot? Don't be like those fucking lemmings who close the case on new technology before it's even been tried.

    • by cgenman (325138)
      The modern automobile is an unmitigated disaster, one that has buried the earth in asphalt and caused more wars and strife than assassinations ever did. However, corporate America's expectations are also an unmitigated disaster. We have become subjected to a daily hypemachine stuck on some sort of feedback loop that drowns out real conversation. Kamen contributed to that hype immensely with the Segway, which when viewed by a real human is just a scooter. It's a scooter with a few neat tricks, but it's a scooter. "IT" flooded the news when it was leaked, "IT" flooded the news when it was released, and now "IT" is in the news because of the failure of "IT". The extensive newscoverage of the Segway is even reported as news.

      Compared to other alternative forms of transportation, the Segway ranks pretty low. It involves no real user-power, so it isn't particularly healthy. It weighs 80 pounds, so it isn't particularly portable. It involves pretty extensive electronics, so it is impossible to work on. It requires user intervention, so you can't read a book. Compare that to Electric bikes, which have longer ranges, lower weight, can utilize user power, cost nearly one-tenth as much money, and can carry a sizable number of groceries. Or to the subway, which requires a high initial investment and understandable traffic loads, but which can carry hundreds of thousands of people to their destinations faster than automobiles, and free the user to do with their time what they wish. Or motorized scooters, which can travel faster than the segway for much longer distances at about the same cost. Really, the only thing the Segway has over current alternative transportation options is the ability to go backwards. The balancing mechanism at the core keeps the price too high to be a real alternative to anything, but remove that and the entire design is gone.

      The Segway's obvious limitations as transportation are not why people are venomous about it, but people are venomous about hype that doesn't pan out. Look at the backlash against the commercial that hyped the second-to-last Joe Millionaire as if it were the last. Many people spent the last 5 years being taken in by hucksters who believed their own exaggerations, then exaggerated thoes until they believed their exaggerations^2, then exaggerated those... We've had people claim that a way to complain publically about websites would revolutionize human communication, a way of selling dogfood online would make all public shopping spaces obsolete, a system of releasing odors into the air on cue would necessitate the re-purchasing of all human interface displays, and a way of trading low-quality recordings online would revolutionize world law. Dean Kamen's IT falls squarely with the former three examples, as a hype machine that grew monstrously out of control. A market valuation of 650 million dollars? Two-hundred sixty times gross revenue? The yearly salry of 16,320 people? For an expensive electric bike company?

      I don't think most people here are closing the case on this new technology. I think most people here are closing the case on another company that grossly overpromised, tremendously underdelivered, and stood there blankly wondering where their fortune was. If they can redesign the entire internal mechanism to run on inexpensive mechanical principles and low-cost electronics, can get the range AND SPEED up to 30 miles at roadway speeds, and can sell the thing at real stores rather than online, they still would need to readjust their expectations from inherited world domination to working eagerly to satisfy the customer's needs.

      Kamen us all to flock to his new invention like so many lemmings just makes us feel cheap. He should be working his tail off if he wants our money. He contributed greatly to the health of many Americans, but if he wants to break into this new market he needs to drop the entitlement.
    • Re:Goddammit! (Score:3, Insightful)

      Come on! We are the ones who should be embracing this! Who's gonna convince Kamen to invent the Segway you really want? You know, the chariot version, that gets 5x the distance, and is 1/5 the price? It cannot get here by itself.

      Now, I understand the "early-adopter" model of sales and everything,and that's fine. That tends to work because early adopters still end up with a product they want, and were willing to pay a premium for the utility and the cache of being first. However, you seem to be suggesting that we should support a product that we don't want so that a company can develop a product that we do want. If I'm going to be Dean Kamen's venture capitalist, I'd like to get more for my money than an 40 kg plastic scooter.
    • Re:Goddammit! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by g4dget (579145)
      Look - the Segway is an attempt to alleviate the total unmitigated disaster that is modern automotive traffic.

      Yes, it just happens to be a really, really lousy attempt.

      There are no quick fixes. Any road infrastructure that is dominated by 1 ton chunks of speeding metal is not going to permit alternative transportation to co-exist; the road and transportation infrastructure itself needs to be fixed. Putting additional chunks of speeding metal onto the sidewalks will only serve to scare away pedestrians even further.

      - "they'll kill people on sidewalks".. amazing, this argument. It's a total non-starter. Anyone on rollerblades or a bike is much more of a danger.

      That's why rollerblades and bikes are not permitted on sidewalks in most places.

      I'm sorry for the rant, but frankly the blank-faced pessimism disgusts me. Where is your sense of wonder, Slashdot? Don't be like those fucking lemmings who close the case on new technology before it's even been tried.

      I don't want these overpriced things taking over the sidewalks. It's bad enough that cars have taken over the roads.

      We already know what to do about cars and how to improve transportation: create pedestrian zones, create bicycle lanes, improve public transportation, and improve train service. When there is decent coverage by quality public transportation, people use it. In most places in the US, your choice is a dirty, rickety bus that goes roughly from where you aren't to roughly where you don't want to go. No wonder people stick with the car. And no gadget is going to fix that.

  • Mac 128? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:48AM (#5335127)
    "If they don't come up with a Stirling engine or a killer fuel cell, this thing will go the way of the 128K Mac," says Saffo

    Kamen could only dream that the current Segway would be like the Mac 128. After all, it's the machine that has now led to a multi billion dollar company on machines that are descended from it. If 12 years from now 7% of his market were riding iSegways and he had billions of cash in the bank, he'd be a happy man.

    Perhaps a better comparison is in order, say something like "Betamax".
  • Denial Mode (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CallistoLion (651747) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:49AM (#5335133)
    The battery runs out after two hours, and to change it: "You pull out eight bolts, put in two new batteries, tighten up the eight bolts, and continue on your route."

    At 80 pounds how do you get it out of your car's trunk? "It's easy," Smith chirps. "I grab one side and get a friend to lift the other."

    Tell those engineers to put away the happy pills.

  • I Rode one.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:59AM (#5335213)
    A guy who works in my building has one that he rides around occasionally (his wife works for Segway), and he let me try it out.
    It's pretty fun to ride around, actually, very simple to use. I got the hang of it in about 5 minutes with coaching, and was doing loops around the third floor atrium of the building (Morse Hall at the University of New Hampshire) shortly thereafter.

    If I had $5,000 to spend on a toy, I'd do it in a second.
    That being said, I'd like to repeat the sentiments of previous posters: In the final equation, it has few advantages over a bike, and several disadvantages, and If I needed a way to get around without a car, I'd buy a bike first. Bikes go faster, even a mild lardass like myself can outride the segway's ~15 mile charge, and you can attach all kinds of trailers and racks to a bike if you want to haul stuff. Plus, there's the health benefits to providing the motive energy to moving your butt around.

    Bikes are much larger, but much lighter. It's a bit easier to keep your clothes clean & pressed while riding a segway, so it could be a bicycle substitute for the suit type- as long as they don't mind looking like dorks.

    This thing could be fairly useful for door to door postal service and similar applications.

    Most people here probably know that the Segway is based on the technology developed for the Ibot 3000 [freeserve.co.uk], a balancing, standing wheelchair- truly an innovation for the disabled, and I'm sure it will sell very well.

    The Segway, then, might be a good thing for the elderly, those still healthy enough to stand at any rate, to help them get around. But if they're fit enough to ride on this, maybe they should be riding a bike too...

    Anyway, my conclusion: Fun, but a waste of money for anything outside of a few specific demographics and jobs.
    Get a bike. You'll live longer.
  • Unfortunately... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CommieLib (468883) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:02PM (#5335238) Homepage
    Dean Kamen designed some incredibly sophisticated electronics and computer controls that do the job of a third wheel.
  • Dork Factor (Score:3, Funny)

    by simetra (155655) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:05PM (#5335261) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps they realized that all the goo-goo gaa-gaa that they generated at launch still doesn't overcome the dork factor; that people riding these look like dorks who are trying to hold in a massive bowel movement, while at the same time, thinking "Look at me! Look at me!"
  • Sour Grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:07PM (#5335282) Homepage Journal
    I've been through many of these posts, and they all seem to revel in the difficulty of the Segway company. Geez. By the reactions, you'd think a Segway had sex with your mom and then said, "I just wanna be friends..."

    I think that the 'angry' responses are from people who would buy one if they could easily afford one - much like linux users who put down macs, while secretly drooling over one.

    Did it deserve the huge media hype? Does American Idol? Probably not. Will it make you fat? No. Will cities tear out roads to accomadate it? No. Was it overhyped? Yes. Is there any reason to kick it when its down? No.

    The Segway seems to be a good product that is trying to fill a niche. Since it *is* overpriced, and fighting a cultural battle (SUVs driven to get the mail at the end of the driveway), it won't do well. I think the idea is ahead of its time. Change the way cities are built? Maybe. But not now.

    Just remember, the Segway didn't have sex with your mom. I did.

  • by dmorin (25609) <dmorinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:14PM (#5335340) Homepage Journal
    Dean Kamen did not suddenly appear out of nowhere with the Segway. He's been around for years inventing some amazing things that have helped mankind. He's damned near a modern Thomas Edison (go look at some of his patents for real inventions, not just algorithms like us software geeks have to worry about). But for the most part his press was substantially limited. If you didn't have a medical problem that required one of his devices, or a kid that was part of his FIRST competition, odds are you never heard of him.

    I still wonder, what changed? What caused him to suddenly try to take over the world like this? I prefer to think that it was just the pressure of the dotcom boom that got to him. Too many venture capitalists whispering in his ear that he was missing out on the big picture. It's a shame, really. If this thing came out with about a hundredth of the fan fare, then he'd probably be doing fine, and none of us would be looking at him like a crackpot -- and a few years from now we'd all have one. But this nonsense about hiring thousands of lobbyists and such was really pretty ridiculous. He knows full well that "good for you" technology cannot be shoved down the public's throats. I just don't understand what he was thinking.

  • Theme Parks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmu1 (183541) <jmullman@@@gasou...edu> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:33PM (#5335517) Journal
    They should really get on the ball. If theme parks were to start buying these things and renting them to the masses that move all over their parks ALL DAY, then they would make a killing in the process, and ol' wheelchair guy(whatever his name is that I can't seem to recall) could keep his business afloat and continue to make good products for the handicaped(which he should have stuck to in the first place).

    Then again, I'm just a technician. "What do I know about diamonds?"

  • Battery life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @01:48PM (#5336166) Homepage
    ... the battery lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours - forcing carriers to circle back to their trucks several times a day to swap batteries.

    That's the big problem. Delivery people, who might actually find this thing useful, can't use it all day because the battery life is too short. For casual users, it's too expensive.

    The real problem, of course, is excessive hype. This is a minor invention with way too much promotion.

  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @03:15PM (#5337181) Journal
    1. Rollerblades are easier, work better, are more maneuverable, and a Lot Cheaper.

    2. Bicycles go just as fast and have an effectively infinite range with no recharge necessary (except for that stop at the pub). And, are cheaper.

    3. Skateboards can probably go just as fast, are just as maneuverable, don't have to be recharged... Etc.

    4. People have had all of the above cheaper, better alternatives to the Segway, but they don't use them because they're dangerous to put in the street and are illegal to use on the sidewalk. Mainly because of the danger to pedestrians. Which is why the Segway won't be legal for sidewalk use either.

    Result: The segway doesn't stand a chance. How could it? Can't put it in the road (you'll be roadkill), can't ride it on the sidewalk (you're just as dangerous to pedestrians as an inline skater)...

    Kind of makes you wonder how much thought they put into this weirdo pogo-stick-looking thing. Are all the people in startup companies yes men? Did no one speak up and say, "Yes, but if they make riding things on sidewalks legal, can't I use my bike or rollerblades?"

    Tsk. Rich people are crazy.

  • by mbstone (457308) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @03:24PM (#5337256)
    Bitch, bitch, complain. I wouldn't buy a car without renting the same model first. Why should Segways be any different? If there is anyplace to RENT a Segway, I haven't heard about it. How about renting them, for example, at all of the Las Vegas Strip hotels? You rent the thing outside the lobby of Casino A and turn it in at Casino B. When you are ready to return to your hotel, you get another one from the pickup line at Casino B and return it to Casino A. The Segway is the perfect vehicle for Vegas Strip transportation: The casinos are all within 1/2 to 2 miles of each other, and few tourists carry any baggage except for their (dwindling) bankrolls. Only problem, it would put the Vegas taxicab mafia out of business.
  • by phamlen (304054) <`phamlen' `at' `mail.com'> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:24PM (#5338497) Homepage
    I admit that I'm looking at this from a NY perspective but...

    How do you lock the dang things? Can someone just hop on your Segway and drive off? Even if you lock it, can't someone (according to the article) "just lift it into a truck"? And if you got a bicycle lock, where would you attach it?

    Considering that, in NYC, most delivery people carry heavy chains and locks and drive beat-up bikes so no one steals them, I can't imagine that the lifespan of a Segway on the New York City streets would be much more than 5 minutes.

    "Hey, guys! Come down and see my cool Segway. Hey, where did it go??!!!"

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