Nike found great success with their Nike Fitness band activity tracker, and now it seems that the sportswear giants are set to follow in the footsteps of Adidas by releasing a sports watch. According to Digitimes, the company will release a Nike+ SportWatch to sit alongside the ir market leading FuelBand SE.
Sources indicate that the popular Asian manufacturer Flextronics international are currently testing the watch. If these tests go as planned, the product could have a launch date as early as May 2014. We understand that Nike are targeting a Q2 launch, allowing them to capitalise on the late spring / early summer pre-holiday running season.
So far, the functionality behind the watch is unspecified. However it’s no stretch to assume that it will pick up on the mantle set by the Fuelband SE but with a greater focus on fitness as opposed to day to day activities. The Nike Fuelpoints are certain to provide a common currency between the two devices. The Fuelband has played a large role in encouraging people to generally be more active, whether it’s getting off the tube a stop earlier or walkin g up the stairs rather than taking the lift. The device is highly effective in such day to day environments, but is more lacking in the gym. If as expected, Nike chooses to position this watch for the fitness market, it opens up line synergy with the FuelBand, allowing people to won both devices.
Android users are likely to remain the biggest loser when this product launches. Nike has a long standing partnership with Apple, meaning their app comes pre-installed on iOS devices. We’ve heard nothing to suggest that this will change with the upcoming watch release. Besides this, Nike have problems with the BlueTooth LE interface which they told PocketLint that they believe “hasn’t really matured for Android yet”. That was as recently as November 2013, so we can assume nothing has really changed although that’s not to rule out it doing so in 2014.
This watch will enter an increasingly competitive market place. The Adidas miCoach watch looks a more than able competitor – you can read our full review here
– and there are pipeline products from the leading activity trackers as well as more ‘pure-play’ technology companies, rumoured to include Motorola, Google, Apple and Nokia coming into this space during 2014. If the last 24 months of fit tech products have been somewhat dominated by activity trackers, 2014 is set to be the year of the sports watch.
Thus far, the technology seems to be focusing on reading a user’s heart rate without the need for a chest strap. Chest straps have always been a burden, and we talked recently about how they have played a significant role in holding back sports watches, even amongst some of the more hardened workout fanatics. In addition, the new tech looks to incorporate a host of motion sensors, allowing the sports watch to gain a more intimate understanding of the activity being undertaken. Robust website portals are also being used to provide next generation workout tracking, bringing a further software element to the hardware.
So we wait with bated breath for Nike’s offering. We’ll be
sure to get a full review out once the product hits the shelves.