Nike just did what BlackBerry should have done with their BBM. Making the core of its devices available cross-platform) as an app.
Many were shocked earlier today after the breaking news of Nike abandoning its most popular fitness wristband: FuelBand. (http://www.cnet.com/news/nike-fires-fuelband-engineers-will-stop-making-wearable-hardware/.) The hardware part of it at least. This left many users of the FuelBand disappointed.
At first, I was both shocked and disappointed as well. But after giving it a thought, this step came just in the right time.
This news should put all the other fitness-tracker companies in a be-worried state. Such as Jawbone which makes the “UP” band and Fitbit, which makes a few different ones.
The hunger for such a band is bigger than what a non-hardware company like Nike could handle. I’ve seen people here wearing FuelBands more than anything else and we don’t have an official Nike store here (The store here doesn’t sell it or replace it even if it is still under warranty.) The Pebble on the other hand, while it is offering more phone notifications functionality, it didn’t get the attention from the public the same way the FuelBand did, except from the geeks community.
Something so basic like FuelBand which offers a few fitness features has gained a huge market. Yet its app and integration with other few apps is way “cooler” than other bands. If the rumors were true about Apple adding sensors to measure more stuff like heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, physical activity, calorie intake and so forth, Apple “iBand” would sell really well.
I don’t have any idea who approached who when Apple started working on their iBand, but the fact that both companies have a great relationship, it was an inevitable for the FuelBand to be part of Apple’s next band. Just like how the iPod became just an app in the iPhone.
Nike already shifted its “Fuel” strategy when it made it available on a few other devices, like Nike+ Kinect Training for Xbox 360 (http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/training/nike-plus-kinect-training) which lets you measure your performance in a “Fuel” points. Nike Move app for iPhone 5s which measure your movement taking advantage of the The M7 coprocessor in the A7 chip which measures motion data from the iPhone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass efficiently without any companion device is just another example. And Nike’s recent launch of the San Francisco-based Fuel Lab (http://nikeinc.com/news/nike-fuel-lab-launches-in-san-francisco) reinforces Nike focus on the pure product of its band.
Personally, I wasn’t really thinking that we will see a “smart-band” from Apple this year, especially reading that the number of wearables in a whole would top 19 million by the end of 2014, triple the number from last year, according to IDC (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=247318) . a number, I don’t think Apple is interested in.
But I guess Apple couldn’t stand the gimmicks Samsung throwing at the market like the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2 and Gear Fit and they had to rush things further. Although I was more interested in a phone notifications-oriented band more than a health companion one.
There has been a huge interest in fitness services and social networls (http://www.developar.com/social-fitness-networking/ ) in the last few years and it is becoming more interesting.
It hit me while reading the news that this could be what BlackBerry have done to save their business, Go back in time when RIM, oh I mean BlackBerry was at the top of its game and its devices are selling well. Then a time has come where it started to struggle but people were still using BBM as their primary messaging method. If BlackBerry made BBM available as an app on the other platforms, it would have been the WhatsApp of our current days.
Call me carried away with such news. But if this didn’t turn out to what I have expected, I am more interested to see where this is going.