RealTime IT News

Amazon Takes First Segway HT Orders

If you're fascinated by new technology, find walking an outdated mode of transportation, and can spare $4,950, today is your day.

The much ballyhooed Segway Human Transport (aka Ginger or IT) self-balancing scooter went on sale this morning on a first-come, first-serve basis through e-commerce giant Amazon.com .

Buyers, who are required to place a $495 deposit, can expect delivery between March and August. Thirty customers will win delivery of their Segway HT before Christmas by describing in 75 words what they like most about the scooter. Winners will also tour Segway's Manchester, N.H., facilities.

"We don't have order data yet, but we did have a detail page with an 'e-mail me when available' option which got a lot of interest from prospective customers," Kristen Schaefer, an Amazon.com spokeswoman told internetnews.com.

Schaefer did not say if there is a limit to the number of orders that will be taken. There are some restrictions. If you're a really big spender, be advised there is a two-per customer limit. Also, Segways are only shipped in the United States for now.

A Segway spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

In September, technophiles grew anxious when a technical glitch at Amazon generated erroneous e-mails that cast doubt on the availability of the machines. The snafu was quickly corrected, however, and the companies don't expect it to dampen sales.

The battery-powered Segway HT has a top speed 12.5 miles per hour. So far, it has been marketed for its employee mobility to business and governement organizations, such as police departments and the U.S. Postal Service.

Amazon and Segway have had a relationship since early this year, when three scooters were auctioned on the site, with proceeds to benefit charity. In the auction, Segway HT No. 1 sold to an individual in Texas for $160,100. Segway 2 sold to someone in Illinois for $104,100, and Segway 3 sold to a Virginian for $100,600.

Last year, Segway founder Dean Kamen sparked a firestorm of publicity as he prepared to unveil the transports.

Kamen, a Granite State inventor, was instrumental in developing the transporters. His resume peppered with successful inventions including: the first portable pump for insulin and other drugs; a portable dialysis machine; a six-wheeled wheelchair that climbs stairs.