While the Tesla phone remains vaporware, NIO teases its first car-centric flagship

While the Tesla phone remains a mirage, NIO teases the first car-centric flagship
While the Internet is full of mockups and renders of an eventual Tesla phone that Elon Musk has been mentioning a few times, it is and probably will remain vaporware that neither Apple nor Samsung would have to worry about in the foreseeable future.

One of the high-end electric vehicle makers in China's roaring EV industry, however, not only teased its first car-centric phone, but will apparently announce it as soon as this week. NIO may use its Innovation Day event on September 21 to unveil the world's first smartphone built from the ground up with the idea to facilitate the ownership of an electric vehicle.

It remains to be seen what exactly would that entail, besides locking/unlocking or starting the car and controlling the A/C, some of which the Tesla app and Apple's CarKey function already do. 

According to CEO William Li, NIO's first car-centric phone will bear flagship specs and will be priced competitively, yet not at a loss. The executive cautioned that, as a first effort, NIO is focusing on stability and phone functions with added connectivity for car users, and more features will be added gradually.

According to him, "the screen may be difficult to innovate, but the whole ID (Industrial Design) definitely has the Nio style. More importantly, I believe it's the first phone in the world that's really and truly designed for cars," presumably NIO vehicles. "Of course, it's also a very good flagship phone for users other than Nio owners. But as its primary purpose, it is designed for Nio car users," he added.

Right now, NIO partners with OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo to ensure that their phones augment and facilitate communication with its electric cars, with the ability to use the handsets as a car key. 

It already has the basics of smartphone connectivity covered via the cooperation with these three popular handset makers, so it remains to be seen what more a NIO phone can add to the table. We'll keep our ears to the ground come NIO's Inno Day on Thursday, and let you know what the world's first "phone designed for cars" will look like.

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