Has any brand in history fallen from such great heights to such ignominious depths as Segway? Dean Kamen's dream machine, introduced to great fanfare in December 2001, once seemed to embody the best of what the future had to offer: remarkable gravity-defying technology employed for the most practical purpose imaginable. Now, seven years later, it's the butt of a movie-length Kevin James joke. In the new film Mall Cop, James plays a shopping-mall security guard whose means of transport serves to underscore his emasculated, bumbling idiocy. The film, which reminds us yet again why police should never ride Segways, represents a new low in a series of progressively lower lows for the company, which suffered its first big PR fiasco in 2003, when George W. Bush fell off a Segway in Kennebunkport (immediately casting into doubt Kamen's dream that U.S. special ops would eventually ride Segways into battle). The problem, of course, is that even when people manage to stay atop their Segways, they look vaguely foolish riding them. As James admits: "I had driven a Segway for a promo for King of Queens, and I thought it was the funniest [vehicle] I had ever seen." Funny = perhaps not the greatest brand attribute for a scooter. Perhaps Segways will eventually have their day in the sun, but these days not even Ferrari can make them cool.
—Posted by Tim Nudd