Thursday, January 19, 2012

The tease is over; Nike announces FuelBand movement measuring band...

NEW YORK--The tease is over.

As many observers in the running and athletic performance industry speculated, Nike announced Thursday the release of its FuelBand, a wristband that measures everyday movement, and encourages people to be more active, whether the activity is running, basketball, skateboarding, tennis, pickleball, etc.

In a glitzy press gathering hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon featuring Nike athletes Lance Armstrong, world 100m champ Carmelita Jeter (left/photo courtesy Nike), and former Seattle Supersonic Kevin Durant, Nike CEO Mark Parker stated, "“The NIKE+ FuelBand is a way for Nike to further evolve the exciting possibilities of merging the physical and digital worlds”. “Nike has always been about inspiring athletes, and the NIKE+ FuelBand will help motivate them in a simple, fun and intuitive way.”

In a tweet posted shortly after the announcement, CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell stated, "January 19, 2012: The day Nike became a tech company."

Designed to be worn throughout the day, the ergonomic, user-friendly NIKE+ FuelBand uses accelerometry to provide information about different activities through movement of the wrist via a LED dot matrix display. Four metrics are available: Time, Calories, Steps and NikeFuel. Unlike calorie counts, which vary based on someone’s gender and body type, NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup.

Users set a daily goal of how active they want to be, and how much NikeFuel they want to achieve. The NIKE+ FuelBand displays a series of 20 LED lights that go from red-to-green as the user gets closer to their goal. The FuelBand syncs with the Nike+ website through a built-in USB, or wirelessly through Bluetooth to a free iPhone app, to record activity and track progress every day. The app interface also provides encouragement and motivation as goals are achieved.

Activities can now be measured through a new metric called NikeFuel: the more active you are, the more NikeFuel you earn.

According to a Nike media release, the device will retail for $149, and will be released to the public February 22nd. Nike's retail web site began pre-selling the device shortly after the announcement.

One of the few activities that the band will not track is swimming, as it's not waterproof. looks forward to taking the Nike FuelBand out for a spin before its release.

The question becomes whether this device will make users, particularly those trying to lose weight by burning more calories, become more obsessive with their fitness activities?

The other question is, where's the stop watch feature?

Here's a video, courtesy of Nike, touting the device.

Here are several different takes on Nike's Fuel Band--one by runner Caitlin Chock, who once was part of the Nike Oregon Project; another by social media specialist Amy Jo Martin; and a third, courtesy of the web site

Darren Rovell's piece on the product from CNBC is also linked here.

NOTE: The media relations department at Nike contributed to this report.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Thanks for the link, Paul!! I will say I'm curious to hear what you think of it after you give it a whirl...I'll be staying tuned! ;)

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