Nike is the leader in global fitness equipment and technology, so you’d expect that they would want to continue that trend and make their products available to just about anyone possible. This includes but isn’t limited to supporting Android OS software with their Fuelband wrist wear. The original Fuelband has been out for some time now, and Nike is making moves to release a Fuelband 2.0. The first gen fitness companion worn on your wrist measures whole body movement no matter how your active, with a measurement Nike calls nikefuel. You can track your daily activities as well as any movement made (all of which nets you a certain amount of Nike Fuel)with a bluetooth connection to your device, and even have a little friendly competition between family and friends. Overall it’s a great idea and a fun way to get people motivated to stay active. There’s just one problem with the device. It only supports iOS.
According to digitimes, Nike will be releasing the next Fuel device sometime in the first half of 2014 as well as the possibility of a smartwatch sometime in the future. Nike has said that they once again plan to keep the next generation of the fuelband device and their rumored smartwatch specific to iOS, hanging Android users out to dry and leaving a bad taste in their mouth. It makes no sense as to why the Oregon based major fitness company would want to leave such a large portion of users out of the loop, but their excuse for why they aren’t pursuing Android development is due to BLE limitations.
Android has come quite a long way, and as it advances BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)support becomes more and more a part of Androids core makeup. Although BLE is nothing new, Nike feels otherwise and is reluctant to begin development on a platform they don’t feel is under as much control. In short, they basically feel like its too hard to support the Nike fuelband system across multiple Android devices because there are so many devices out there. While it is true that not all devices will be manufactured with the same Bluetooth technology, Nike could still support devices that support BLE. It comes down to a “quality” issue for Nike, as Stephan Olander who is Nike’s VP of Digital Sports is recorded saying that their iOS integration falls under the category of “quality first, scale second”.
This statement along with another one that BLE can’t be scaled across all devices within the Android ecosystem is what Nike is leading with. The problem for Nike, is that more and more Android users pop up every day. If they want to continue innovating and increase their user base making the jump to support Android would be the smart move.