“LeEco” has been called “the Chinese Netflix” because it operates one of the country’s largest video streaming services. Today we learned it also wants to make your car, your phone, your “content,” and sure why not– your bicycle, too. If it added anything about the actual viability of said plans, I couldn’t find it in the full toilet of corporatespeak the company tried to flush down our throats today.
We’ve been watching LeEco for a few months now, since it announced a fully-electric Tesla Model S rival called “LeSee Pro” to be unveiled at this year’s Beijing Auto Show. Information supporting LeEco’s possible reality: it’s raised $1 billion to bring its “car” to market according to Bloomberg. Against: it’s a strategic partner with Faraday Future which has yet to deliver anything but hype since it started advertising itself over a year ago.
That said, part of LeEco’s presentation today included a line about Faraday Future bringing a car to the massive Consumer Electronics Show in January. We heard the same last year and I drove all the way to Las Vegas to look at a full-scale spaceship model, but I’m willing to keep an open mind.
And let me tell you, that was no easy task today as LeEco bombarded members of the media and everyone else sitting through its two-hour live streamed press conference with Silicon Valley buzzwords and vague infographics about an “Open Content Ecosystem” that will “unite platforms, content, devices and applications.”
LeEco did not have the electric sedan of the future to show us, because its flight got delayed and it got stuck in traffic (San Fran problems, amirite?), which CEO Yueting Jia precisely described as “a real bummer” to the crowd through his translator.
What we did see was a lot of rhetoric about an “open loop system” between television, phones, bicycles, virtual reality, and cars. So here’s where I make one more joke about Silicon Valley having more smoke and mirrors than a Pink Floyd laser show and actually try and decode what the hell these people in tight black t-shirts were talking about.
As one of LeEco’s presenters, the company has “Solved the problem” of a “fragmented” marketplace. He was presumably referring to the fact that you have to buy different things from different companies.
It is so annoying that I have to buy my phone and TV and bicycle and virtual reality gear and car and videos from different companies.
Now if one corporate monolith could control absolutely everything I consume and use to get around, that would sure make things easier for me and definitely not ever have any negative repercussions for consumer choice at all.
The concept of “the common thread is you!” was repeated several times. That’s the justification LeEco is going for as to why the same company should be providing everything you touch.
LeEco did get squeeze some specifics regarding its technology and transportation ideas between platitudes– basically everything is like the stuff you have, but more futurey.
The bicycle, called LeMall, boasts “hydraulic disc brakes” and “integrated lighting,” neither of which set it apart in today’s bicycle marketplace. Oh, hang on, it will also be integrated with an app so you can lock and track it from your LeEco phone.
As for the car, it pretty much looks like an Acura NSX-influenced Tesla Model S with an interior like an architectural model. As I mentioned earlier, it didn’t make it on stage but it was at the press conference and hey it will be in the next Transformers movie!
So there you are, right in the middle of LeEco’s corporate gunsights. And now you know there’s a company building steam to bundle communication and transportation, then monopolize it.
As to how close they actually are do doing it, well, the car didn’t make it on stage.