In the midst of all the breathless hoopla and “extra, extra, Tweet all about it” that’s going on over wearables, one of the leaders in the field announced they’ll no longer be making them. To which we said, “Wait… what?!” You probably heard about Nike’s FuelBand way before you even started imagining what Apple’s iWatch would look like. Now the company is canning the FuelBand division, even scrapping plans for the slimmer version set to launch this fall. Yeah, when it comes to wearable tech, they’re just not doing it anymore.
In mid-April it was announced that 55 people (out of about 70) will be let go from Nike’s Digital Sport division, which worked on the FuelBand. It was a bit of a headscratcher considering its success and Nike’s 10% piece of the $238 million fitness tracker pie. And don’t even get us going (and a wee bit sentimental) over the start of it all, the activity tracking Nike+ released back in 2006.
The Daily Dot broke down “why” to try to shed some light on our question of WTF. Their answer = Apple. And more specifically, the iWatch. Or the “whatever it will be called” wearable Apple is supposedly/definitely/maybe/most likely/absolutely coming out with later this year. The two companies have been sittin’ in a tree since the Nike+ iPod kit of yore all the way up until the exclusive-for-iPhone 5S Nike+ Move app.
Not only does Apple CEO Tim Cook share a seat on Nike’s board of directors, but Nike’s top fitness consultant and key FuelBand developer Jay Blahnik sparked iWatch rumors when he crossed over to Apple last year. Saying goodbye to their Digital Sport division pretty much sealed the deal that the Swoosh is forgoing their own device to share in a part of Apple’s activity tracking plans. Let’s at least hope the collabo will produce something that makes the original Nike+ look as archaic as a typewriter.
While it totally feels like there are dozens of different wearables ready to strap on to your extremities, we’ll likely see our options dwindle and/or get acquired until we’re stuck with two different flavors: Google or Apple. Yes, there will probably be tons of toppings to choose from, but sprinkles does not an ice cream make.
But wait! We think there’s hope. Sure, the allure of seven figure acqui$ition$ will be there, tempting the little guys to choose sides, but surely some of the wearables that found life thanks to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding campaigns will stay solo.
Let’s start the chant now: Long live the mom-and-pop wearable shop. :'(
What wearable do you want to wear? Does it matter to you if all of them are either Google or Apple?
(h/t: The Daily Dot)