Adidas is shutting down its fitness wearable division as it prepares to leave the smartwatch and fitness band market segments, Portland Business Journal reported earlier this week. The move is described as not an unexpected one, with industry sources previously suggesting that the company has been reducing its focus on wearables in the last several years and the firm's own statements on the matter recently being ambiguous in regards to whether it will ever return to this product category. Poor commercial performance is understood to be the main reason why Adidas decided to dismantle its hardware unit, though the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based corporation never provided specific sales numbers for devices like the miCoach Fit Smart (seen above) and the miCoach Smart Run Watch.
Wearable apps with smartphone-enabled features like Runtastic will continue being supported by Adidas going forward as their future was never directly tied to the company's first-party hardware since they are also available on many other Android and iOS devices. The costs saved by the firm's decision to shut down its wearable segment will largely be redirected to such mobile software going forward, though it's currently unclear whether the move will result in major layoffs. The German sports clothing and accessory maker remains interested in fitness-oriented smartwatches and bands and will continue exploring them in a limited capacity but primarily through partnerships instead of expensive standalone efforts, as suggested by recent reports. The company previously announced an Adidas Edition of the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch which still doesn't have a firm release date attached to it but was already confirmed as being set to hit the market at some point in 2018, with recent rumors pointing to a spring release.
Adidas isn't the only clothing design company that unsuccessfully tried entering the wearable segment on its own, with Nike being another high-profile example of such efforts. The market as a whole is presently largely focused on fitness bands but remains dominated by experienced hardware manufacturers, many of whom can also afford to price their offerings in an extremely aggressive manner. According to most industry analysts, the appeal of fitness bands is likely to maintain its momentum in the coming years but that may not necessarily translate to additional competition on a global level.