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Xiaomi launches Mi TV 3 and Ninebot mini, a cheap self-balancing scooter

Did you know that Segway is a Chinese company since April, and that it's partly owned by Xiaomi, the rising star among Chinese smartphone manufacturers and one of the most valuable startups in the world?

More precisely, Xiaomi is a major shareholder of Ninebot, the Chinese company that in April 2015 acquired Segway, the company synonymous with its two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle. On Monday, Ninebot unveiled the Ninebot mini, a self-balancing scooter and the company's first product launch after the Segway acquisition in April.

The Ninebot mini is substantially different from any of the Segway models — instead of a handle it has a knee-high steering stick. According to the company, it only takes "a few minutes" to get the hang of using it.

The electric-powered scooter can travel 22km (13.7 miles) on a single charge, with a 16km/h (9.9mph) top speed. It supports loads up to 85 kg (187.4 pounds) — definitely a dealbreaker for many — weighs 12.8 kg (28.2 pounds) and can traverse slopes up to 15 degrees.

The Ninebot mini also comes with a smartphone companion app, which lets you secure your scooter, making it sound an alarm if it's moved. Ninebot's press release says the app also lets you control the movement of the scooter, but there are no further details on that.

However, Ninebot mini's most important feature is the price. At 1999 yuan ($314 USD), it's orders of magnitude cheaper than any of the Segway models, which typically start at $6,000. Of course, it's best compared with Ninebot's eponymous earlier product, which has a handle bar, making it a lot more similar to the Segways. Its price is also much bigger than the Ninebot mini's — the company currently sells it through Amazon for $2,993.

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