On January 6th, an internal email from NIO revealed that the head of the NIO Phone division, Yin Shuijun, will be leaving the company. The responsibilities related to mobile business will be taken over by NIO‘s Vice President and Head of Hardware, Bai Jian.
On the afternoon of the 6th, Bai Jian posted on his personal Weibo, stating that he has taken over the mobile department and expressing determination to ‘do well in rider connectivity and do well in mobile phones’.
Bai Jian said that he has been a little busy these days, possibly implying that he is occupied with work handover. He first affirmed Yin Shuijun’s work, saying, ‘When Yin Shuijun first came to NIO, mobile phones were still within the scope of smart hardware. I watched him build the team step by step while fighting battles. Now it has become a capable and organized team.’ At the same time, he mentioned that the mass production of the first generation NIO phone was a ‘successful comeback’.
Bai Jian’s statement did not directly respond to the rumors of Yin Shuijun’s resignation, but he clearly stated that he has taken over the mobile phone business.
Bai Jian pointed out that there are two important development directions for the future of NIO‘s mobile phones: first, the integration between phones and cars will become closer, with the ‘cabin and entertainment media-related (non-safety) aspects becoming more integrated, and performance and iteration becoming more smartphone-like’; second, the imaging capabilities of NIO‘s mobile phones. He stated that the team’s current foundation in mobile phone imaging is ‘very good,’ and at the same time, NIO has self-developed ISP capabilities. ‘All of these fall within my area of responsibility. I have great confidence in what kind of chemical reaction will occur after further integration, and I am very much looking forward to it.’
In February 2022, there were reports that NIO planned to enter the mobile phone industry. One and a half years later, on September 21st of last year, William Li, CEO of NIO Automotive, officially launched the flagship smart phone NIO Phone at the NIO IN 2023 NIO Innovation Technology Day.
The hardware configuration of the first generation NIO Phone is basically no different from other flagship smartphones on the market. However, as an important medium for human-vehicle interaction, NIO has injected many software-level interactive shortcuts into the NIO Phone.
For example, the phone is equipped with UWB ultra-wideband technology, which can replace car keys and support unlocking without electricity within 48 hours. On the left side of the device, NIO Phone has a NIO Link vehicle control button that allows one-click access to 30 vehicle connectivity functions, including quickly checking vehicle status, parking location, and completing vehicle locking and unlocking.
Yin Shuijun is the head of NIO Phone, and he completed the research and development of the first generation NIO Phone during his two-year tenure at NIO. Prior to that, Yin Shuijun served as the president of MeituKiss.
After Yin Shuijun’s departure, the development progress of the next generation NIO Phone may not be greatly affected. According to reports, William Li had previously revealed that NIO Phone will continue to iterate in the future, and its development cycle has basically formed a ‘fixed pattern’. The second generation NIO Phone is already in the research and development phase.
As of now, Yin Shuijun’s personal Weibo username is still ‘Yin Shuijun_NIO,’ and his personal introduction is ‘NIO Phone Business Director’.