New wearables: Nike+ Fuelband SE and fugly Fitbug Orb
Hard on the heels of Fitbit’s Force comes another wave of wearable technology – turning wrist space into valuable real estate. Two more new arrivals in the last 24 hours – at totally opposite ends of the scale, too: the Nike+ FuelBand SE and the Fitbug Orb.
Firstly, Nike has woken up (forgive the pun) to the need for a sleep tracker, which is the main addition to the Nike+ Fuelband SE model. Further enhancements include more colors, but as the HuffPost complained, no sign of a game-changing heart-rate monitor, or even Android compatibility.
According to Nike’s spokesperson Stefan Olander, “everything you know and love remains the same”. And that’s the problem in an emerging market where innovation and features are at the fore. However, at least the FuelBand SE is available (this link is to the German site) directly in mainland Europe.
With Nike+ pricing now at EUR 139, it spells the end for those EUR 200 grey imports, and means the best-looking of the wristbands is just EUR 10 more than the Jawbone UP – which by contrast is already starting to look dated.
Meanwhile, the Fitbug Orb is the antithesis to the Nike+ product. While Nike is relying on style, the Orb looks just as awful as it sounds, and has become the shellsuit of the wristband wearable technology crowd. But it is super cheap. “Just GBP45 / US49.95” and not yet available in the Euro zone. Thank goodness…
The Orb is by far the ugliest. It mimics cheap, eye-catching but useless “energy bands” from the late noughties. In its favor, the Orb can also be worn on the belt (presumably when you’re fed up with people laughing at your retro wristband). Its press release contains the laughable but probably obligatory claim: “a leading provider of online health and well-being services”. Where’s the proof?
It’s also hard to understand how Fitbug can justify billing itself as the “ultimate” movement and sleep tracker when it does not include an altimeter, while its web interface looks like an homage to a 1980s video game. As for the color choice – there’s garish pink, black or white. It might be cheap but unless you have a fancy smartphone, you’ll need to spend extra on the sync dongle.
If you wanted photographic proof, here’s beauty and the beast. I’m reluctant to even put the photos together, but here goes:
Simply fugly Fitbug Orb (photo credit: Fitbug)
Sleek and stylish Nike+ FuelBand SE (photo credit: Nike)