‘Nike to stop making FuelBand hardware’

Nike is said to be considering pulling its FuelBand fitness tracker and will instead concentrate on its digital app ecosystem, Nike+, as it switches focus away from wearable technology to software.

Reports suggest Nike will stop making its FuelBand hardware and focus on apps.

The sports brand has confirmed it is laying off staff from its digital sports team and refused to commit to launching further devices in the future, although it does insist that FuelBand remains an “important part of our business”. A report on tech news site CNET suggests the staff cuts could total 55.

The reports suggest Nike will now focus on making software improving its Nike+ FuelBand app, although it will continue to support the current version of the FuelBand device “for the foreseeable future”. The sports brand currently has an online community of 20 million people sharing data on their health and fitness.

In a statement, Nike says: “As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities. As our digital sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team and there will be a small number of layoffs.”

Nike first launched the FuelBand in 2012 to track and convert exercises into a single unit as part of its Nike+ fitness platform aimed at building a community around sport. It also allowed the sports brand to capture valuable user data that it is hoped can spur its direct-to-consumer business.

Nike updated the wristband in November last year to allow users to tag exercise sessions with specific exercises and link to the latest version of the Nike+ app. It promised at the time that further launches were in the pipeline and last week announced its Fuel Lab accelerator programme, that enables companies to design hardware that incorporates its workout metric, NikeFuel.

The FuelBand competes with a number of rival devices in the wearable technology space, including FitBit, Jawbone and Samsung. Apple is also expected to launch its own device this year that will link with the iPhone and be able to track detailed fitness information including heart rate, as well as offering an accompanying app, Healthbook.

The wearable tech market is set to grow from annual sales of $1.4bn (878m) in 2013 to $19bn (11.9bn) by 2018, according to Juniper Research.

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