The reports are true – Nike is forgoing its wearable hardware plans, in lieu of a future in software, according to CNET. This means we light the pyre for the future production of Nike FuelBand, including a slimmer iteration it had in the works for fall.
Nike spokesman, Brian Strong, told CNET that the move was a result of evolving Digital Sport priorities.
"As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities," he said.
But one thing is for certain, it is not all gloom for the brand.
Strong claimed Nike has shelved all future physical product ventures under the Digital Sport banner, but its Nike Digital Tech division, responsible for Web software, will not be affected.
He also added that the company will not stop selling the second-generation FuelBand SE, for now at least.
The future, as we know it
"The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business. We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new Metaluxe colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future," Strong told CNET.
He claimed Nike’s future is all about fitness software, including its Nike+ API, which other hardware vendors can incorporate into their own wearable technology.
Nike also launched its testing space, Fuel Lab, in San Francisco last week, to aid other companies in integrating its fitness measurement system, NikeFuel, into their products.
It’s all about timing
It is questionable if Nike’s exit from the wearable tech space is happening at the right time, especially since players such as Samsung, Google, and Apple have or will soon penetrate that market.
Nike could be pulling itself out of the wearable tech market to avoid competition from these new market-crowding devices or plainly because its digital app ecosystem has become less dependent on wearables with improving smartphone sensors.
Either way, the strategic shift will be game changing for Nike; it will either benefit the company in the long run, or might just completely miss the boat.
In line with its new tech vision, the sportswear giant also axed the majority of the FuelBand fitness tracker development team.