Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?
In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.
Nike fitness apps get customizable exercise routines, more
Nike on Saturday announced an update to its Nike Training Club apps for Anrdroid and iOS. The update will allow the app's 11 million users to better connect and coordinate their workouts, with new features like four-week programs, customizable content, and better integration with the Nike+ Running app and Nike FuelBand. It also includes access to workouts inspired by world-class athletes such as Maria Sharapova.
Daily workouts designed to reach goals
Nike has released an update to its Nike+ Running app for iOS devices, adding a new Coach system that aims to help users achieve training goals. The navigation menu now provides four different programs, including 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full-marathon distances, with a choice between three different training levels.
Firmware update will add improved algorithms, workout session support
Despite launching an updated model, Nike has confirmed it will be providing some features from the Fuelband SE to its older FuelBand. New firmware and an app update will be available to users of the preceding model, though it is not clear if they will be provided at the Fuelband SE's November 6th launch or shortly afterward.
New FuelBand SE algorithms add accuracy to activity monitoring
Nike has launched an updated version of its Fuelband activity monitoring device at its NikeFuel Forum event. The Nike+ FuelBand SE retains the same basic design of the original, adding some bright accents to the main black color, but it is now able to more accurately track movements used in specific types of activities through its new algorithms, making it much harder to fool.
Event may show new version of Nike FuelBand monitoring device
Nike has sent out invitations to the media for an October 15 event in New York City, where it plans to discuss the future of its digital world experience. Likely, but not confirmed, at the event is a new iteration of the FuelBand monitoring device, which is nearly two years old.
Director expected to help tackle iWatch project
Apple has recruited Ben Shaffer, formerly the studio director for Nike's Innovation Kitchen, a source says. The Innovation Kitchen is Nike's research and development department, the birthplace of products like the FuelBand wrist tracker and the lightweight Flyknit shoe. What Shaffer might be doing at Apple is unstated, but based on his background it's speculated that he may have been brought on for Apple's alleged iWatch project and/or future wearable technologies.
Thought to be long-rumored iWatch
Apple has started assembling a team of people specializing in fitness, medical sensors, manufacturing, and hardware and software engineering in order to produce a fitness-focused wearable computer chock full of sensor technology, sources say. Apple is stated to have experimented with a number of designs in the past, including ones that could clip onto clothing, like an iPod shuffle. Currently though the company is thought to have returned to a wrist-wrapped device, likely the iWatch.
Nike FuelBand to let devs integrate with more apps
Nike let slip Friday night that it would open up a beta version of an app programming interface (API) for its FuelBand movement tracker. South by Southwest Managers Hack organizer Backplane briefed The Next Web that developers would soon have the option of integrating the FuelBand with their own music apps. How much data would reach apps versus coming back wasn't given out.
Path gets big Nike and music updates
Path updated its self-titled iOS app (App Store) Thursday to uniquely combine features from other activities in its social stream. By using a newly available API to plug other services into Path, the title can now automatically posts Nike+ GPS runs as generated by the Nike app, taking them once they've reached the cloud. A Shazam-like music matching feature can now identify nearby music and provide a link to buy it in iTunes.
Automatically syncs results with Android devices
Nike+ has tweeted that it will be releasing a companion
Android app for its FuelBand wrist tracker this summer. With it, a person using the device can sync the information with their smartphone or tablet wirelessly and automatically to analyze performance and activity results. The band, which was launched in January, can so far communicate either with a computer using USB, or to an iPhone via Bluetooth.
Nike Plus goes beyond running in new shoe tech
Nike expanded its Nike+ mix Wednesday with two combinations of shoes and apps that go beyond its traditional focus on running. Both Nike+ Basketball and Nike+ Training can track jump height and other factors besides horizontal distance. A new Pressure Sensor integrated into the shoes themselves contributes to the existing motion tracking to reveal details that were previously impossible to follow in the Nike+ system.
Suit claims earlier patents on Nike, iPod tech
An unusual lawsuit filed earlier this week hoped to upturn another lawsuit over Nike+iPod technology. Maryland resident Erik Cherdak claimed to have had two patents relating to an "athletic shoe with timing device" that predate the patents accessory maker PhatRat was using to sue, and later license out to, Apple and Nike. He hoped to have the two PhatRat patents invalidated on top of forcing Apple and Nike to pay licensing fees for iPhones, iPods, and shoes designed to use the Nike+ system, all under the threat of a possible ban.
BERG Little Printer provides social hard copies
BERG stirred attention Tuesday with a return to print tailored just for mobile. The Little Printer talks to an iPhone or Android phone to subscribe to "publications" that can print out multiple times a day. They include regular content like birthdays, Sudoku puzzles, and weather, but also pro content like news from The Guardian, to-do lists from Google, and even periodic Foursquare check-in updates.
Adidas makes Nike Plus-rivalling f50 official
Adidas on Friday hoped to bring intelligence to soccer (international football) by bringing out a miCoach-equipped version of its adizero f50 shoes. They contain a sensor in the outsole like Nike+ shoes but have an added level of detail that helps track the on-off pacing of a player on the pitch. They cover basics like average speed and distance but can also single out the frequency and distance of sprints as well as the stride.
Survey based on mix of industry, consumer opinions
Aston Martin has beaten Apple to the top spot on annual CoolBrands UK rankings for a second year in a row, the BBC notes. CoolBrands' charts are based on a mix of public polling and opinions taken from marketers and business people. Aston Martin's win is thought to be linked with James Bond, since the movie spy's most popular cars have typically been DB5s or DBSs.
2011 Nike Mag to go in 1,500-pair charity auction
Nike after a quick teaser has fulfilled geek dreams by making a production version of Marty McFly's sneakers from Back to the Future 2. Now called the 2011 Nike Mag (link ready soon), the hi-tops are a near-exact replica of the ones Michael J Fox's character wore. Practicality prevents them from auto-tying the laces like in the movie, but they use electroluminescence to light up with a pinch and will stay lit for five hours on a battery charge.
Nike+ issues apologized for, new platform coming
A letter sent to Nike+ users from the VP and GM of Nike Running, Jayme Martin, has apologized for the recent problems the platform endured lately. The letter was shared by TechCrunch, and reveals the issues include log-ins, syncing devices, sharing runs and editing profiles. In light of this, Martin promises a new Nike+ platform is coming that will get rid of these problems and with new features.
Motorola fitness device would merge music, runs
Motorola may have new media player that would simultaneously take on both the iPod nano and exercise trackers like Garmin's Forerunner or the Nike+ SportWatch. A spotting Wednesday from a survey shows a device very similar to Apple's with a ready-made wristband. As described to Engadget, it would have GPS to track runs but also have a "smart music player" that, like a cross between Apple's Power Songs and Genius, would tailor the music to similar-sounding content ideal for a workout.
App sees overall speed improvements
Nike has put out a new version of its Nike+ GPS app for iOS, v3.1. The update is comparatively major, making some feature additions and a number of refinements. The app should now run faster overall for example, and provide better accuracy in terms of accelerometer and GPS data.
Garmin Forerunner 610 adds touch to GPS running
Garmin stepped up the interface for its GPS watches on Tuesday through the new Forerunner 610. The addition gives it a more intuitive control scheme that lets runners plot their direction along with starting training routines. The surface is grayscale to save battery life and is also weatherproof, making it safe to use not just in rain but after a sweat-inducing run.
Boosts performance with GPS tracking
Nike has introduced its new Nike+ SportsWatch GPS at CES 2011. It leverages the shoe-based Nike+ sensor to track time, pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate. Using Tom Tom navigation technology, the SportsWatch GPS will track what a user does, how they do it, and then motivates the user to improve on previous performances over the each route.
New marketing touts 'running without music'
Nike is directing shoppers' attention away from iPhones and iPods in new marketing, a report notes. In some ads appearing in stores, the sports gear maker is advertising the Nike+ SportBand as "the freedom of running without music." The SportBand attaches to a wrist, and tracks statistics like distance and speed that can later be transferred via USB.
Nike Plus GPS hits App Store
Nike in a Labor Day twist posted a special stand-alone version of its Nike+iPod app. Nike+ GPS ($2, App Store) uses an Apple device's built-in accelerometer and location finding, preferably an iPhone's GPS but also through iPod touch players, to track the pace and distance without needing the Nike+iPod shoe adapter. iPhone owners can get a visual map of the route tied into Google Maps.
Glitches in app cause lost calibrations, totals
A Nike+ support forum is discussing numerous issues with iOS 4. According to users, upgrades to the most recent iOS release have caused problems with Nike's exercise sync gear, like lost workout histories, lost links or dropping connections with the Nike+ sensor and lost connections with the Nike+ remote. Most of the problems have been reported on the iPod touch and iPhone 3GS, but some have popped up for iPhone 4 users on the forum.
Polar intros WearLink+ for heart rate with Nike+
Training heart rate monitor maker Polar has introduced one of the few Nike+ transmitters outside of Nike in the WearLink+. The band is compatible with the Nike+ SportBand and Nike+iPod Sport Kit but does more than track pace. It straps around a user's chest and brings heart rate monitoring for the first time to the two existing Nike+ offerings.
Caps long series of fitness-related Apple patents
A new Nike heart rate monitor -- the first compatible with Nike+iPod technology -- should launch on June 1st, says a spokesperson for the company. The representative adds that it may actually be in some American stores "slightly sooner," while Canadians will get the accessory before the end of June. Launches in other countries are scheduled only for sometime this summer.
Groups take sides in row over environmental laws
Both Greenpeace and the US Secretary of Energy are welcoming an Apple decision to abandon the US Chamber of Commerce. The former's toxics campaigner, Casey Harrell, on Thursday issued a statement which applauded Apple for confronting the Chamber over its opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. Apple is the first technology company to have removed itself from the Chamber over the issue, though it was preceded by shoe maker Nike, and several energy companies including Exelon, PNM Resources and Pacific Gas & Electric.
Evidence from Apple's own website
The latest iPod nano may soon have an optional Nike heart rate monitor, a guide from Apple's website is said to indicate. The manual (PDF) includes a section called "Linking a Nike+iPod Compatible Remote or Heart Rate Monitor," specifically stating that the technology is only compatible with a fifth-gen Nano. Although the new player is already in stores, there is no sign of the quoted monitor.
Nike SportBand and iPhone
Nike today upgraded its Nike+ running gear with a new SportBand and an extra feature for iPhone users. The tracking device for calories, distance and speed has a new background to be more easily readable on the run and is weather sealed to prevent it getting wet. It can work as a stand-alone device or as a supplement to an iPhone or iPod that saves having to look at Apple's players to check run information.
Second-gen iPod touch
Apple has confirmed rumors by revealing the existence of a second-generation iPod touch, bringing with it several enhancements. Central is a revised casing, which uses a contoured profile similar in shape to the iPhone 3G, but with stainless steel replacing plastic. Other similarities with the iPhone include new volume buttons, allowing blind adjustment, and a speaker, from which owners can hear both music and system sounds.
Apple last in industry
Apple has been ranked the worst among all major PC vendors and other large electronic firms in the fight against climate change. Climate Counts this week released its second annual Company Scorecard hoping to create a "simple, easy-to-understand ranking of companies would motivate both companies and consumers to step-up their efforts on climate change." Apple was ranked in last place among the list of 12 electronics companies, while companies such as IBM, Canon, Toshiba, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard were near the top of the electronics industry. Top honor went to Nike, which passed last year’s high scorer, Canon, to become the top scored company among the 56 companies evaluated. Apple was the only electronic company to receive a "Stuck" designation, with a recommendation as a choice to "avoid for the climate-conscious consumer," because the company has taken "meaningful action against climate change."
Nike+iPod gear patent
A Nike patent application, recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, appears to detail some of the company's plans for new Nike+iPod gear. Key to the technology is an expansion beyond the single sensor offered today, which slips into a person's shoe and only tracks pacing and distance. Future sensors may monitor many different factors, including EKG, heartrate, body temperature and even hydration. GPS data may also be present, enabling users to track exactly which routes they have taken.
Nike+ for iPhone/Touch
The Nike+ fitness technology will indeed become available for the iPhone and the iPod touch, a Nike spokesperson has confirmed. Speculation began that it might when patent filings surfaced last month, pointing to an integrated fitness system similar to the existing Nike+iPod kit for Nanos. Although there is no sign of the extra sensors mentioned in the patent, or its extra activities such as weight-lifting, the new Nike+ system should at least replicate the running support of Nike+iPod, and its corresponding website tracking and competition.
Grantwood has announced the release of tuneband for iPod nano, an armband product designed to comfortably secure the iPod nano in place during exercise, including Nike+iPod compatibility. The product consists of a comfortable and flexible armband strap that can accommodate both large and small arms, a durable silicone skin that allows access to all ports on the iPod nano, and a low-tack, cut-and-peel screen protector that helps guard against smudges, moisture, and daily wear-and-tear. The tuneband is compatible with all generations of the iPod nano, and the current 3rd generation model has skins available in eight colors: black, gray, navy blue, neon green, pink, purple, red, and teal blue. The tuneband for previous iPod nano models has skins available in black only. The tuneband retails for $15.
Nike+ Sportband unveiled
Nike recently unveiled the Nike+ SportBand, confirming earlier reports that the company would release a "sans iPod" version of its fitness tracking system. According to MacLife, the SportBand functions similarly to the iPod combination set, where it can measure time, speed, distance, and calories consumed. The system supposedly writes this information to a USB memory stick for upload to a computer. Nike will sell the SportBand for €60 (~$95), and will ship in April.