Nike FuelBand runs out of gas
There are reports all over the web today claiming that Nike is shuttering its FuelBand product line and laying off most staff involved with the project. With the FuelBand out of gas just six months after the updated SE version was introduced, it’s another roadside casualty of the vicious pace in the smart wearables market.
Nike’s step back means that all three of the early leaders in smart wristbands have now withdrawn a high-profile product, which doesn’t instill too much confidence for potential buyers thinking about taking the plunge with a $100-plus wristband.
Jawbone was the first, withdrawing the original UP back in 2012. Then in February this year, Fitbit dramatically killed the Force, which had been dogged by rumors of users’ allergic reactions since it launched in North America: The product never even made it to other markets.
According to a report by CNET, Nike will refocus on software in the wearables space. If this is the case, then it’s another hint that, after a shaky start, the smartphone is starting to make inroads into the activity tracker space. As reported here a few weeks back, smartwatches and activity tracker bands are already merging. It’s starting to look like the smartphone as the single killer device, either on your wrist or in your pocket or handbag.
How appropriate then, that FitnessKeeper launches Breeze, an iPhone app which is positioned as “activity and fitness tracking made simple”, based on the philosophy that it’s possible to use a smartphone to track movement since most people have their phone with them during most of their waking hours. We’ll report back after putting the app through its paces.