Described by Nike as “the smart, simple, and fun way to get more active”, the new device addresses criticism that its earlier device failed to recognise that some activities use more energy than others.
In a start-studded unveil featuring Olympic gymnast Shaw Johnson, US track and field athlete Ashton Eaton and New York Giants football player Victor Cruz, the FuelBand was given a thorough run-down by Nike representatives as well as members of the press, who took part in an interactive challenge onstage. This was to demonstrate how the upgraded device regulates the energy expended on different kinds of activity, from running to rowing to boxing.
The FuelBand SE looks extremely similar to the first incarnation of the device, but now offers a welcome splash of colour to liven up your wrist. Whilst still available in all black, there’s also now Volt (neon yellow), Total Crimson (red), and Pink Foil, with the new colours lining the inside of the bracelet and only a small stripe near the latch.
Other improvements to the FuelBand include an upgrade to the lower-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology, allowing the device to automatically synchronise its data to an iPhone rather than requiring the owner to carry out a series of button presses.
There continues to be no official FuelBand app for Android devices, although users can connect the gadget to a computer to upload their data to Nike’s website. There are also serious gamification aspects to the device, with Nike focusing heavily on the ‘friends’ aspect of the technology, aiming at getting more people involved in being active.
The firm also suggested a redesigned internal circuit board and other changes meant the device offered “greater flexibility” and “improved water resistance”. Issues with the original model meant several users suffered error messages after several months’ use, requiring the bracelet to be replaced.
Like its predecessor, the company suggests the FuelBand SE can be worn in the shower but should not be submerged for extended periods, for example while swimming.
Finally, there’s sleep tracking, which the first generation device lacked entirely. Sleep tracking is available to users of competitors including the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone Up, which is a welcome step in the right direction in order for Nike to keep up with the competition.
An upgrade to Nike’s associated FuelBand app now offers new ways for owners to share their achievements. The company said that its iOS app also introduced a feature allowing users to work together to hit a fuel score target as well as a way to better monitor how much energy was used at different hours of the day.
Nike also announced plans to expand an existing programme to encourage third-party firms to develop software that makes use of the information generated by the device.
The FuelBand SE is available to pre-order now for £129.
[Via The Verge]