Chinese electric car company NIO has unveiled its first-ever smartphone designed to be used with its electric vehicles. The EV manufacturer’s journey into phone production was first hinted at in March 2022, when its CEO, William Li, mentioned a NIO-branded phone designed to compete with Apple.
Tailor-made for NIO car owners, the phone has its own App Store and boasts over 30 car-specific features. Among these functionalities, drivers can beckon their vehicle to drive autonomously to their location under specific conditions, such as in confined spaces and at reduced speeds. Additionally, the phone has the capability to unlock the car, even if it is powered off.
Three versions of the phone are on offer, with prices ranging from 6,499 to 7,499 RMB (890 to 1,030 USD). As of now, sales are restricted to China, and deliveries are set to commence on September 28.
NIO’s Chief Executive, William Li, emphasised the phone’s innovative connection technologies. “I believe many of our competitors will learn from our smartphone innovations, and I welcome them to do so,” Li commented.
However, the intersection of smartphones and the automotive sector is not unique to NIO. Earlier this year, Meizu launched smartphones compatible with Geely’s Lynx & Co-branded vehicles. Meanwhile, renowned smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is transitioning towards automobile production.
NIO’s current venture into the smartphone arena exemplifies the growing convergence of the automotive and tech industries. In fast-evolving markets like China, staying attuned to cross-industry synergies can be a strategic advantage in today’s dynamic landscape.