Nike and Adidas announce new non-competing wearable devices

Nike revealed a new Fuelband life tracker while Adidas joined the competition with Garmin, TomTom, Suunto, and others for space on the avid runner's wrist.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

This week we saw two of the major fitness gear companies, Nike and Adidas, announce new wearable tech products. The products are not in competition with each other though as one is focused simply on tracking daily activity while the other is designed for the active runner who wants to track and record specific workouts.

Adidas miCoach Smart Run

Nike and Adidas miCoach GPS watch fitness wearable devices
Image: Adidas

Adidas revealed their new GPS runner watch at the GigaOM Mobilize conference in San Francisco yesterday. Despite many of the articles you may have seen discussing this product, this is not a competitor in the smartwatch category so do not compare it to the Pebble, Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch, iWatch, or any other such device.

The Adidas Smart Run is a competitor to Garmin GPS watches, the new TomTom devices (my review of the TomTom Multi-Sport will be live early next week), Suunto GPS watches, and other $200 to $400 watches designed for the active runner.

The new Adidas Smart Run actually looks very similar to the Motorola MOTOACTV that continues to be my favorite running watch. Like the MOTOACTV, the Adidas Smart Run is powered by Android, has a touch display, and is the only other running watch I have seen that supports music playback over Bluetooth.

Of course the watch has an integrated GPS receiver that helps track your route, speed, pace, and much more. A couple unique features include a heart rate monitor from the wrist rather than requiring a band around your chest and WiFi sync to the Adidas miCoach platform.

The color touch screen is 1.45 inches and has a resolution of 184 x 184 pixels. It weighs in at 2.8 ounces. The 410 mAh rechargeable battery powers the watch for four hours while in training mode with 1 second updates, eight hours in marathon mode with 5 second update intervals, and 14 days while in casual watch only mode.

It comes with 4GB of integrated storage, 3GB of which is available to store your music. For comparison, my two-year old MOTOACTV has 16GB of available storage. It's pretty amazing to me how advanced the MOTOACTV was and that no one has yet matched its capabilities.

While listening to music via a Bluetooth headset is supported, Adidas is focused on promoting the ability for the watch to provide training coach input via the display or audio playback. Coaching appears as animations on the watch, through vibrations to alert users of tips and guide them through interval training, and audio feedback.

There are still many details remaining to be revealed, such as how the data synced to the miCoach platform can be accessed and possibly shared, if there is any connectivity with a smartphone, and how the watch is charged up. It will be available starting November 1 for $399, which is competitive to other high end GPS running watches that offer similar functionality.

Nike+ Fuelband SE

Image: Nike

I was one of the first to buy a Nike Fuelband and thoroughly enjoyed the hardware design. However, it is a locked down ecosystem and after Nike promised and then reneged on the Android compatibility I gave away my Fuelband.

Earlier this week, Nike revealed they are launching a 2nd generation Fuelband, the Nike+ Fuelband SE. This new version is still restricted just to iOS connectivity and the captured data is given as Nike Fuel with no ability to export to services such as Runkeeper, Endomondo, and a number of other focused services. Fitbit and Jawbone focus on connectivity with other specialized services while Nike uses their own proprietary measurements and maintains a closed ecosystem.

The new Fuelband SE sells for the same $149 and comes in a variety of colors; black, green, pink, and orange. It is water resistant and hopefully Nike fixed the problem with the back band screws rusting due to sweat and normal daily wear. I had to have mine replaced after just a couple months and gave my replacement away before the screws rusted up again.

Nike added sleep tracking capability, found in other products like the Fitbit line and Jawbone UP. The Nike+ Fuelband SE is likely even a better piece of hardware than the current Fuelband and is a nice solution for those who are satisfied with the Nike Fuel metric system.

Two rechargeable batteries power the Fuelband SE for up to four days of usage. The display shows you your fitness status and the time on the 100 small LEDs. There are 20 color LEDs too that show you status and rewards. Nike provides feedback in the form of rewards, achievements, milestones, and more in order to attempt to motivate you to achieve your goals.

Again, the Nike+ Fuelband SE is not a smartwatch competitor. It competes with the Fitbit line, Jawbone UP, and Withings Pulse daily life activity tracker products. It is the most expensive of the bunch and with only iOS compatibility I will be taking a closer look at the newly announced Fitbit Force instead. That new Fitbit will include phone call notifications and starts to blur the line between the smartwatch and life activity trackers.

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