Nike axes FuelBand developers amid wearables exit
Company to drop wearable hardware plans in favour of developing fitness software
Nike is set to abandon its wearable hardware business, and has already let go of most of the employees involved in the development of its FuelBand fitness tracker, CNET reported over the weekend.
The 70-odd employees were part of the Digital Sport division's hardware team, the report said. Instead of continuing on with creating new hardware such as the FuelBand, Nike will instead focus on developing new types of software related to fitness.
Other products developed by the team included the Nike+ sportwatch, as well as a number of peripherals such as headphones.
Nike was one of the first companies in the world to see success in the wearables market, having released the FuelBand to widespread acclaim. The company was set to launch a new, thinner version of the FuelBand in autumn of this year, but that project has now been cancelled.
Nike will carry on selling the current-generation FuelBand SE, CNET said. But any improvements will be focused on the wearable's accompanying software.
In recent months, Nike has faced increasing competition from other fitness tracker manufacturers, many of which are selling similar products to the FuelBand but at lower prices. The CNET report said that it makes less sense for Nike to stay in the hardware race given the improvement of smartphone sensors, as well as the expectation that Google and Apple might soon join the fray.