Somewhere, Paul Blart is shedding a tear. Your beloved Segway is rolling into the mists of history.
Segway has announced that it is finalizing production of its two-wheeled personal transporter, which galvanized the world when it debuted in the early 21st century. The overheated media coverage at the time claimed that cities would have to rethink their designs to accommodate the new transport, and soon we would all be traveling with the scooter-like vehicle.
Unfortunately, like personal jetpacks, those bright and shiny notions of the future I hoped for never came to fruition. While mall police (like Blart), urban mail carriers, and tourists embraced the Segway, it never really took over beyond those limited markets.
Therefore, July 15 marks the end of manufacturing of the Segway PT. The company will focus on other units, such as its shared scooter business, it said Tuesday. Two other models, the Segway SE-3 Patroller and the Segway Robotics Mobility Platform, will also stop production.
Segway is now the largest provider of scooter sharing companies such as Bird and Lime. Ultimately, the Segway models accounted for less than 1.5% of the New Hampshire-based company’s revenue last year, he said.
Another technological wonder is also gliding smoothly towards that good night. Olympus, known for its quality digital cameras, is selling its camera business to Japan Industrial Partners, the company that acquired VAIO from Sony in 2014. No details of the sale were released.
Olympus entered the consumer camera business in 1936, but now draws most of its money from sales of medical equipment.
Olympus launched its first digital camera in 1996, one of several companies that leads the charge away from the traditional movie business. Unfortunately, the rise in cell phones wiped out that business line, and the Olympus camera division lost money for the past three years.
There is no information on what Japan Industrial Partners plans to do with the division.