By Stephen Schenck | October 15, 2013 4:52 PM
Wearable technology may still be in its infancy, but that just means we’re at the forefront of being able to watch it all evolve. That’s meant things like more and more advanced smartwatches, and Google Glass in the months to come, but also a whole boatload of fitness trackers. And why not? These devices are often much less physically complex than other wearable gadgets, making them durable, affordable, and easier to use than more “techy” hardware. Today, Nike’s back with its follow-up to last year’s Nike+ FuelBand, but we’re wondering if it’s really much of an improvement.
Nike’s pretty shy about talking hardware specifics, and honestly, the most notable difference in the Nike+ FuelBand SE compared to the 2012 model may just be the addition of new color options. We hear about Bluetooth 4.0 upgrades, better waterproofing, and improvements to circuit board design, but is doesn’t sound like its capabilities are changing at all – no mention of additional, or even improved sensors.
As minor as that refresh may be, it would be a lot easier to live with if Nike wasn’t being so insular with the FuelBand SE’s software support. Remember last time around, when Nike talked about future Android compatibility, only to change its mind and alienate a wide swath of users? The situation’s not changing with the SE, but at least now Nike doesn’t appear to be even offering a glimmer of hope for future support.
Sure, lots of products see platform exclusivity, but it’s hard to understand Nike’s decision with its FuelBand line. Jawbone UP, Fitbit… it seems like all of Nike’s fitness tracker competition have come around to dual Android/iOS support long ago, yet Nike remains stubbornly committed. We’re not going to twist the company’s arm, but with over $2B in profit a year, you’d think it could afford to hire a decent Android dev team. Maybe all those close dealings it’s had with Apple are getting the better of it.