Nike+ FuelBand Android snub blamed on lack of Bluetooth LE support

October 30, 2013

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Nike has once more received some amount of flak from Android supporters when it earlier announced the next version of its fitness bracelet, the Nike+ FuelBand SE. While it has already come out that it will not be working on an Android app for the wearable device, the company is now making known exactly why.

Fitness bracelets, though many, have had quite a bad track record of supporting the Android platform. One would presume that a giant such as Nike would have both the resources and the incentive to cover as much ground as possible in terms of mobile devices. Indeed, the company does put out some Android apps. Unfortunately, not so for its popular FuelBand accessory. Earlier this year, it posted on Twitter that the company is not working on an Android app for the device. When the new Nike+ FuelBand SE was unveiled two weeks ago without Android support, Android users and supporters were unsurprisingly dismayed.

It seems, however, that Nike might have valid technical reasons for ignoring Android, at least for the time being. Nike vice-president of Digital Sports Stefan Olander says that the lack of consistent and mature Bluetooth LE (Low-Energy) support on Android has prevented the company from committing to the platform. The FuelBand SE, in particular, uses Bluetooth LE to connect to a smartphone, in this case, an iPhone, in order to minimize battery usage. Bluetooth LE support on Android is still somewhat new, having been added only in Android 4.3 a few months ago. Support is rumored to have been improved in the upcoming Android 4.4 release, which is still a no-show.

Unfortunately, it seems that Nike also has some other reason for sticking with its iOS guns. It says that it is still waiting for someone, like an Android smartphone manufacturer, to mesh with Nike's goals and vision, which is probably a vague way of saying that they want a company like Samsung, LG, or HTC to exclusively cater to Nike's needs. And so it remains unknown whether an improved Bluetooth LE support in the next Android version will be enough to satisfy Nike's requirements or if Android users will be left with no choice but opt for other, and sometimes better, alternatives.

VIA: Pocket-lint

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  • Timothy Anderson

    Nike could have established their name with this product. I think it was ultimately a poor choice avoiding android. It may be OBE now, with upcoming devices that will subsume this functionality and do even more.

    • Матт Реякіпѕ

      Not really. Because most Android users wouldn’t pay $150 for the fitness tracker. Gotta have enough users buying the high end products to make it worthwhile to develop for. You gotta realize 80-90% of Android users have phones that are $100 or less. Those people aren’t gonna throw down $150 for a fitness tracker. Not many people would be willing to pay more for an accessory to their phone as they paid for their phone.

  • Матт Реякіпѕ

    There’s other reasons Nike chooses not to include Android but it would make them look bad to say it. It’s the simple fact most Android users wouldn’t spend $150 on a fitness tracker. Being the most popular mobile operating system doesn’t mean it’s the most profitable. Most who use Android don’t put a lot of money into their devices. They don’t buy apps/games and they buy the cheapest accessories for their devices they can find. That’s why Lifeproof hasn’t made a case for Android devices because not enough will spend $80 for an Android case. Just like Mophine won’t release their $180 battery pack for Android because they know not enough Android users will spend that kinda money on a battery pack. Is it possible there will one day be enough Android users willing to throw down good money for accessories and apps/games for their devices? Sure. But people have to realize, to develop for an operating system the company needs to feel like they’ll make a profit off it. No reason to develop a product for the operating system if they’re gonna lose money off it.

    • Tyler H

      Come on your excuse is crap. Honestly from this post you sound like your typical Apple fanboy.

      Your examples are poor bas best. You want to know why LIfeproof has not made a base for Android. It is because it is not an Oporating system there. That is a phone. No single Android phone sells nearly as mean as one of the iPhones. Since they are in the very high end case market which is very small it is hard to make them for an even smaller market share. Same with the battery. Not enough a single model android phone for that.

      Lets face is the biggest reason for Nike is Tim Cook sits on their board. That is the bigger reason.

    • Tony

      Add up the Samsung galaxy s3,s4, Note2,note3,htc one and Sony Xperia users and don’t tell me that its a minuscule number or that these premium users don’t spend