Following Nike’s unveiling of the company’s new FuelBand SE yesterday in New York, Adidas has today also decided to show off its take on wearable technology.
The as-yet-unnamed smartwatch was revealed at GigaOm’s Mobilized conference in San Francisco today and will go on sale for the rather pricey sum of $399 (£250) on November 1st.
From what we’ve seen and read, the Adidas smartwatch has several neat features that will set it apart from competitors such as the FuelBand SE. First off, the smartwatch can figure out your heart rate from the pulse in your wrist, and then factor that in with various onboard movement sensors as well as route tracking. The watch will then cook up a custom exercise program with personalised training suggestions, and give prompts for that routine on the colour display.
As well as the GPS and Bluetooth, there’s WiFi and an accelerometer, though no digital compass. The stats the watch collects will synchronize with Adidas’ existing miCoach fitness cloud where there are thousands of pre-configured fitness routines and programs to work through.
As far as the construction of the device, Adidas has opted for “serious” watch materials, so the strap is the “highest quality” silicone rubber paired with aluminum, magnesium, and glass. This means that it’ll be water-resistant, although it’s not designed for swimming, more just to handle impromptu rain showers and sweat.
The functions are controlled via the full colour touchscreen, with a single button just below it on the strap which takes you back to the homescreen. Adidas’ UI is navigated with swipes up and down, between the watch face and the main menu with its current stats, and side to side between different control panes for music (an onboard media player can push audio via Bluetooth to your wireless headphones, and also deliver training suggestions and updates), GPS, and other features.
As far as battery life is concerned, this will depend on which of the features you’re actively using. Turn GPS on, and stream music and fitness prompts to your headphones, and you’ll get about eight hours out of the smartwatch; just use it in the more basic watch mode, and it’ll run for about a week on a single charge. Brilliantly, Adidas has included a “marathon” mode which is designed to balance the fitness tracking features with the length of a 26 mile marathon – handy for long-distance fans.
“We’re not trying to make a smartwatch, per se, but the smartest running watch” Paul Gaudio, head of adidas Interactive, said today. As for opening up the watch to third-party integration, that’s not on the cards at the start. “It’s something we’ll look at as we go into 2014 as we look at distribution” but there are no plans for open APIs yet, Gaudio confirmed. This is a very different approach from Nike’s FuelLab project, announced earlier this week.