One of the gifts to beat this holiday season was sure to be the hoverboard. While the technology is less like the floating skateboard made famous in Back to the Future Part 2 and more like a Segway with no handle, these “hoverboards” have become quite popular lately.
Maybe it is because we are currently living around the time this movie projected our technology would reach this achievement. Perhaps it has something to do with the publicity stunt produced by Funny or Die and Tony Hawk which featured—or so it seemed—a hoverboard.
Regardless the reason, “hoverboards” have been selling like hotcakes—as the adage goes—on Amazon. At least, they were.
On December 12th, 2015, however holiday hoverboard hunters may have come to Amazon only to find their search was futile as the online retailer removed the sale of the item from the site for US and UK shoppers.
Swagway is one of the top hoverboard retailers in the industry and they reported that Amazon had, indeed, asked all hoverboard manufacturers to prove their devices meet specific safety standards set by a private safety science company called UL, who tests battery quality (and more). At the center of this, reports attest, batteries appear to be the culprit.
Apparently, Amazon has been forced to pull these items from their proverbial shelves after reports of explosions and even house fires.
Now, if you visit Amazon.com today you will certainly find some hoverboards. Apparently, this notice Amazon sent out only pertains to certain models. For some reason, hoverboard models by Razor and Jetson remain on the site (both in the US and the UK).
This report reveals, though, just how vulnerable this industry is right now. For example, there is not one primary hoverboard manufacturer. Typically, this is important for any budding industry as it helps to set standards in quality and consumer expectation. This industry has no primary hoverboard manufacture and this has, it seems, resulted in some importers purchasing cheap models from shoddy knock off “brands” in China that have not passed any industry regulations.
Still, you can, indeed, find a few models available on the Amazon.com website. So if you have a few hundred bucks to spare and really want to see what all the fuss is about, there is a good chance you can still have one delivered in time for the holidays.
Just don’t plan on taking one with you on your vacation: some major airlines have also banned the transport of these scooters as they are a fire hazard.