It is relatively common for smartphone makers to enter the electric vehicle (EV) space. Foxconn and Baidu are already involved in EV manufacturing. Xiaomi announced a new subsidiary to enter the EV market last year and Apple is said to be working on the Apple Car for a long time. Now, in a reverse trend, EV-maker NIO has announced that it plans to enter the smartphone market with its smartphones soon.
The company has also described Apple as its biggest competitor. “Think about it, if an Apple model is released by 2025 and 60 percent or more of NIO users use Apple phones, there’s no defense for NIO. If NIO doesn’t do something to prepare today, So it won’t be fun at the time,” NIO CEO William Lee said on a talk show.
NIO, an EV company launched in China in 2014, wants to create its own ecosystem like Apple. The only difference is that Apple started with PCs before introducing smartphones and is now reportedly planning to get into the EV space. NIO, on the other hand, started with EVs and now wants to enter the smartphone segment to provide a holistic ecosystem to its customers.
The NIO CEO said that its latest EV platform is already equipped with ultra-wide band (UWB) technology, something that Apple is now using in its iPhones. However, the company does not provide an open interface. This makes it difficult for the EV-maker, of which 60 percent of its customers are iPhone users, to offer features designed specifically for iPhone users.
The current scenario leaves NIO’s research and development team to study the details of smart displays such as smartphones, wearables and car-centric devices to ensure seamless connectivity between its EVs and other devices. So with its own smartphone, the company is planning to not only offer seamless connectivity and more functionality to its existing users but also thwart potential competition from Apple in the future.
As far as the launch timeline is concerned, the CEO of NIO has admitted that its plans to introduce its smartphone are currently at an exploratory stage.
The EV maker is looking to manufacture its own smartphones to take on Apple’s iPhones after the NIO that appeared earlier on BGR India.