The round-headed NOMI is NIO's in-vehicle "artificial intelligence" partner released at the first NIO Day in 2017, sitting in the middle of the vehicle's center console, which is loved for its deep interaction and has become an iconic option for NIO owners. Now, NIO has launched its mobile phone product NIO Phone at the 2023 Innovation and Technology Day, what role will this mobile phone that can only be bought on the NIO APP play? Will it become a car owner like NOMI?
NOMI (left) and NIO Phone (right)
On September 21, NIO held NIO IN 2023 NIO Innovation and Technology Day event, NIO Phone debuted and announced the appearance, configuration, function and price, NIO founder, chairman and CEO Li Bin confessed: "We also know that once NIO makes a mobile phone, it will definitely be ridiculed by everyone, thinking that we are not doing business, we don't care, users are willing to buy it in the end." ”
Similar to NOMI's original design, NIO Phone is also for the purpose of improving the user experience. "Mobile phones can make cars easier to use and make the experience of NIO users better." Li Bin said.
In contrast, user experience is more subjective, and user orders are more objective. Did NIO users buy Li Bin's account? Today (October 1), NIO announced the latest sales data: in September 2023, NIO delivered 15,641 new vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 43.8%; In the third quarter (June-September), a total of 55,432 new vehicles were delivered, a year-on-year increase of 75.4%, and quarterly deliveries reached a record high. Some analysts said that the positive feedback of the market is the result of NIO's "long-termism" of adhering to technological investment and comprehensive layout.
The NIO Phone for car owners
The price of NIO Phone is in line with NIO's consistent more expensive tonality, and the price of the three versions from low to high is: the performance version (12GB+512GB) costs 6499 yuan, the flagship version (12GB+1TB) costs 6899 yuan, and the EPedition (16GB+1TB) costs 7499 yuan.
At a time when competition in the new energy luxury market is fierce and the industry reshuffle is accelerating, NIO released NIO Phone not only to provide NIO owners with a mobile phone peripheral.
NIO Phone comes standard with the flagship, and the flagship model adopts the original ceramic Logo inlay process, and the nano-microcrystalline ceramic and environmentally friendly plain leather precision splicing. The chip adopts the leading version of Qualcomm's second-generation Snapdragon 8, with a memory and storage combination of up to 16GB+1T; Equipped with a 6.81-inch curved screen with 2K resolution, supporting a variable refresh rate of 1-120Hz; the main camera, ultra-wide angle and periscope telephoto are all 50 million pixels; Equipped with a 5200mAh battery, it brings flagship-level ultra-long battery life, supports 66W wired 50W wireless flash charging, and specially matches NIO wireless car charging; Provide ultra-large area of ultrasonic fingerprint, 3D fingerprint recognition, press once can be entered; There are also flagship configurations such as 10W wireless reverse charging and IP68 level waterproofing.
The NIO Phone uses an iconic skyline design that traverses the back of the fuselage
Is the investment in the mobile phone product line a willful money-burning behavior? Li Bin said: "Please rest assured, we are very clear about our business boundaries, very clear about our resource boundaries, we will focus on research and development, infrastructure construction and service users, we will definitely not enter the field that has nothing to do with smart electric vehicles and has nothing to do with our users." At the end of the day, NIO defines the NIO Phone as a phone built for car owners.
NIO Phone is equipped with UWB ultra-wideband technology, which can completely replace car keys and support unlocking without power within 48 hours. There is a NIO Link car control button pioneered by NIO on the left side of the fuselage, and 30 interconnection functions can be directly accessed with one button, even when the mobile phone is not connected, it can realize unlocking, opening the trunk, flashing lights, vehicle summoning, remote parking and other functions.
NIO Phone and NIO can also realize panoramic interconnection and seamless circulation. The navigation clipboard relay of NIO Phone can synchronize navigation information with one click, copy text on the mobile phone, extract and identify location information to the car terminal for safe synchronization, and tap the central control screen to navigate and go.
As of the end of September this year, NIO has delivered a total of 399549 new cars, which means that the NIO Phone is a mobile phone that is more acceptable to nearly 400,000 NIO owners. At least within the highly brand-recognized NIO owner group, the NIO Phone has no rivals.
"Rider Connected" travel scenarios
On the intelligent track of "driver connection", cars and mobile phones empower each other. If we look further, when the mobile phone and the car machine are smoothly integrated, the business of car companies can also extend from the car to the ecological territory beyond the car.
About seventy percent of the people on NIO's mobile phone team are on the software team, and at NIO, software defines not only the car, but also the mobile phone. Li Bin said that at NIO, the "driver connection" team is common to both the car and mobile phone teams. In fact, in addition to NIO, new energy vehicle companies such as Huawei, Geely, Xpeng, Nezha and Feifan are also making their own layouts and increasing investment.
According to Yin Shuijun, head of NIO Phone's business, "Judging from the order situation, it has been scheduled to November, and some colors will not be delivered until December. ”
A NIO owner who placed an order on the first day of NIO Phone unveiling told Nandu reporters that he ordered it that afternoon, and it was already shown that the goods were in a pre-sale state. He chose the performance version of the NIO Phone of Star Green, and paid 5499 yuan after deducting the maximum number of points (10,000 points, 10 points = 1 yuan).
Screenshot of NIO Phone Performance Edition order. Provided by respondents
With the blessing of NIO Link's NIO panoramic interconnection technology, NIO Phone will continue to increase cross-terminal applications, opening up the imagination of mobile phones and smart car cockpits while opening up software and hardware. Taking the panoramic digital cockpit as an example, after turning on the sky window function, an independent twin of a mobile phone will run on the central control screen of the vehicle, supporting the parallel operation of the central control screen and the mobile phone, and a NIO Phone, providing an experience beyond "two mobile phones".
It is worth mentioning that NIO's ecological partners have also shown full sincerity, and Xiaohongshu, smart parking payment, machine core, and tiger smell have launched in-vehicle applications for NIO Phone.
But using apps to control the car is not enough to become the motivation for ordinary users to buy mobile phones, for potential users who are not NIO owners, Li Bin emphasized the advantage of the good experience of NIO Phone - 0 system advertising pre-installation. Li Bin even said that this was a point that made him decide to make a mobile phone. He feels that "the business model of the traditional mobile phone industry relies on Internet services to make money, sacrificing user experience, and the cost of channels is very high, crowding out gross profits."
Technology investment has become a footnote for NIO's long-term practice
For car companies, it is easier to realize the function of interconnection with the car machine through small programs or applications, or cooperate with other brands to make mobile phones, but Li Bin prefers to use "bringing a little new wind to the mobile phone circle that has not been innovated for a long time" to describe the advent of NIO Phone.
Li Bin believes that at the hardware level, the underlying software, and the application software, it is necessary to do special development and design, which is a very systematic thing, not simply through a small program can be done, "Some innovations at the underlying system level, (other brands of mobile phones) can definitely not be done." ”
In fact, on the same day as NIO Phone, it was unveiled at the Innovation and Technology Day, as well as NIO's first self-developed chip, the lidar main control chip NX6031, Chinese named "Yang Jian", which means the third eye of the vehicle, which can efficiently capture the raw data of the lidar sensor and reduce the power consumption of lidar by 50%. Not only that, compared with the complete purchase of finished products, each "Yang Jian" can also reduce the cost of NIO by hundreds of pieces, becoming a footnote for NIO to reduce long-term costs through short-term self-research investment.
Li Bin said frankly that there are many voices in the outside world that make NIO save money, but he stressed that the current intensity of R&D investment will continue to be maintained in the future, maintaining it at about 3 billion yuan per quarter, which is "a basic guarantee for participating in the increasingly fierce competition of the next stage of smart electric vehicles."
With such intense R&D investment, NIO has built a comprehensive technological innovation layout - NIO technology full stack, covering 12 key technology areas such as chip and vehicle intelligent hardware, battery systems, electric drive and high-voltage systems, vehicle engineering, vehicle global operating system, panoramic interconnection, intelligent driving, intelligent cockpit, smart energy, intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and global digital operation.
NIO's technology stack includes 12 key technology areas
Ren Shaoqing, Vice President of NIO Intelligent Driving R&D, also explained in detail the strategy and plan of NIO's global intelligent driving at the Innovation and Technology Day, and the enhanced pilot assistance (NOP+) he led the team to tackle is a point-to-point assisted driving function based on the second-generation technology platform in highway and urban expressway scenarios. On September 28, NIO fully opened the collection of Navigator's wish list. As planned, global NOP+ service will begin in October.
In terms of NIO's unique power exchange, as of September 29, NIO has deployed 1,904 power exchange stations across the country, including 560 high-speed power exchange stations. Since NIO's first swap station went online on May 20, 2018, NIO has spent more than five years to open up a high-speed power swap network in 6 vertical, 4 horizontal and 8 large urban agglomerations. It is envisaged that in 2025, NIO will fully build a high-speed power exchange network of 9 vertical, 9 horizontal and 19 large urban agglomerations, allowing users to leave if they want.
In this way, NIO's long-term doctrine is not a slogan. Looking through NIO's 2022 ESG report released on September 25, it can be seen that NIO has become the first car company in China to formulate an internal carbon pricing mechanism, and it is also the first company in the vehicle industry to carry out closed-loop management of power battery aluminum materials.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also a practitioner of long-termism, his credo is that "only long-termists can win the future." In his first letter to shareholders in 1997, Bezos spent nearly 40% of his views on "long-term priorities" and "obsessed with users", which seems to coincide with NIO's current corporate value orientation, and whether NIO can have a successful future like Amazon, only time will give the final answer.
Nandu reporter Zhao Weijia came from Shanghai