Somewhere, Paul Blart is shedding a tear. His beloved Segway is rolling away into the mists of history.
Segway has announced it is ending production of its two-wheeled personal transporter vehicle, which galvanized the world when it debuted in the early part of the 21st century. Super-heated media coverage at the time claimed cities would have to re-think their layouts to accommodate the new transportation, and soon we’d all be commuting using the scooter-like vehicle.
Alas, like personal jet packs, those notions of the bright and shiny future that awaited never panned out. While mall cops (like Blart), urban mailmen, and tourists embraced the Segway, it never really caught on beyond those limited markets.
Thus, July 15 marks the manufacturing end of the Segway PT. The company will focus on other units, such as its shared scooter business, it said on Tuesday. Two other models, the Segway SE-3 Patroller and the Segway Robotics Mobility Platform, will also stop production.
Segway is now the largest supplier for 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, it claimed.
Another technology marvel is also slipping gently into 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 on the sale were released.
Olympus entered the consumer camera business in 1936, but now draws most of its money from medical equipment sales.
Olympus marketed its first digital camera in 1996, one of several companies leading the charge away from the traditional film business. Unfortunately, the rise of cell phones killed that business line, and the Olympus camera division lost money for the last three years.
There is no word on what Japan Industrial Partners plans to do with the division.