October 19, 2013
Nike’s Latest Fuelband: Good News And Bad News
Nike’s second generation Fuelband, the Fuelband SE, is due out on November 6th, giving consumers the chance to see if the fitness and activity tracker you can wear on your wrist is an improvement worth investing in.
Wearable technology is a quickly growing market, led (recently anyway, we’re not talking calculator watches here) by Nike with the Fuelband. The Fitbit Force from California-based Fitbit is one rival example, which was released not long ago. Jawbone, Adidas, iHealth and Garmin are also committing to wearable fitness technology, while Samsung and Sony’s smartwatches incorporate some of the ideas involved.
Nike is leading because the Fuelband came earlier, but a lot of people had concerns with the first version, and now assessments of its successor suggest that not all concerns have been addressed.
But, let’s start with the positives. A criticism of the original Fuelband was that it didn’t take into account the differences in various kinds of activities when calculating Fuelscore, the daily activity count based on all kinds of factors to assess your activity levels in any given day. It includes minor activity, such as picking your nose or stretching, as well as intense exercise. The new Fuelband will let you define sessions of certain activity, such as yoga or tennis, and tell it when you started and finished as well as exactly what you were doing. These extra details will help to create a more accurate Fuelscore.
Another plus: by upgrading to Bluetooth 4.0, the new Fuelband shares its data with your iPhone automatically. Before this, the owner had to fiddle around a bit to do this. The Fuelband is now better sealed and therefore more water-resistant. It will give you hourly movement reminders, and comes in new colors. The app has changed too, and will constantly display a graph of daily motion. You can share this information with friends, add a location, and assess weekly activity.
As for the downsides, still having no direct connection to Android is a major one that has frustrated Nike fans. Users can connect to a computer and then add the data to a website, but there is no Fuelband app for Android. The range of Fuelband SE is also criticized. And although more water-resistant, it still isn’t suitable for swimming. There is no heart rate monitor, something that was rumoured and hoped for from the new version.
It seems like Nike hasn’t done everything their customers would have liked from the new Fuelband, although there are some improvements and corrections. Whether this means they will slip behind in the market as others follow their lead is unclear, but the possible missed opportunity to flood the market, which Nike had, may actually encourage others that their product can do things Nike’s hasn’t done yet.
Even if the Fuelband SE isn’t perfect, though, it’s a pretty cool gadget; futuristic elements combined with positive steps towards helping improve health. Works for me.
Image Credit: Nike