Under Armour signals move into wearable tech market with $150m purchase of MapMyFitness

Under Armour has announced it will be moving into the wearable technology market this week, by declaring that it has bought workout app company MayMyFitness for $150million.

The move puts the company in charge of one of the biggest social sports communities on mobile devices, and pitches Under Armour right into the current battle between industry heavyweights such as Adidas, Nike, and Jawbone, amongst others.

The beginning of a beautiful relationship?

MapMyFitness, which was launched in 2007 and is based in Austin, Texas, counts 20 million registered users–nine million of which use its service on a monthly basis and 700,000 of which use it daily. It ranks fifth among the top developers of sports fitness apps, according to research conducted by IHS Electronics & Media in April, which puts the number of app installs among the top five at 83 million.

Under Armour has been investing money into wearable technology for several years now, using it on a professional level, but so far has not released anything really new to the public. “Athlete biometric measurement is a new business we’re just getting behind,” says Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO.

At the moment Under Armour has built a chest strap called the Armour39 that can monitor heart rate, calories burned and other details. The device, which costs $150 (£93), works with either a smartphone app or specialised watch.

There is also the innovative E39 smart biometric top with built-in sensors that professional athletes started testing, which measured heart rate, anaerobic threshold, aerobic capacity, muscle heat, GPS positioning and more. So detailed were the readouts, Under Armour didn’t think the public would need it.

The E39 wearable monitor was a great statement of intent from Under Armour

With this initial high pedigree, we’re hopeful that Under Armour could have something impressive due out soon, with a wearable sensor to compete with the offerings already on the market. Sales of fitness devices, apps and services are expected reach $5 billion by 2016, according to market research firm Gartner, jumping more than threefold from an estimated $1.6 billion this year, so Under Armour will be hoping for a healthy slice of that pie.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

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