Nike is throwing some fuel on the already hot fire when it comes to wearable fitness technology. This week, the world's biggest sporting goods maker unveiled the latest iteration of its FuelBand fitness tracker in New York.
The Nike FuelBand SE (which stands for "second edition") is available for pre-orders, and is slated to hit store shelves on Nov. 6. The price will remain the same as the original FuelBand—$149.
Physically, the second edition looks fairly similar to the first. It's still black but sports volt, pink foil or total crimson on the inside, and the band is more flexible and has an enhanced super bright LED. Tap twice and you get the time doubling the FuelBand as a wristwatch.
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Nike said the upgrades on the FuelBand SE will provide a richer experience and will help users set and achieve their physical fitness goals. It even has real-time feedback and reminders to ensure you keep moving.
The FuelBandS SE's new Bluetooth 4.0 technology will allow users to connect seamlessly with their smartphones—avoiding the need for syncing. However, this technology is only available for IOS.
This is the first refresh since Nike came out with its original FuelBand in 2012. Since then, the market for wearable technology has grown tremendously, with companies like Jawbone and Fitbit also competing for market share.
According to Berg Research group, consumers bought 8.3 million fitness trackers in 2012. T-hat number is expected to grow by nearly eightfold by 2017 in a market that could hit $6 billion within five years, according to ABI Research.
"People love to know where they stand," said Stefan Olander, Nike's vice president of digital sport. "Measuring yourself in a non-intrusive way is incredibly powerful."
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Olander said the biggest challenge has been understanding people's true needs.
"It's amazing how much insight you can gleam when you have millions using a product every day," he said. "You can't improve what you can't measure."
Nike's FuelBand community has grown to 20 million members worldwide, with a combined run over 1 billion miles.
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So how does Nike differentiate itself from the other wearable technology brands?
"At Nike, we focus on the athletes. When you understand that, you don't get blindsided on the technology because it's the experience that matters," said Olander.