Nike Updates FuelBand iOS App


Nike has enhanced its popular iOS FuelBand app, moving the program into the realm of social media with greater hooks so that athletes that use the FuelBand can now quickly and easily share their activities.

The primary addition is the ability to directly post to Facebook, a move that now provides users with three alternatives when seeking to share results and compete with friends: Facebook, Nike+ and Contacts.

However the update has more than just the ability to share your latest accomplishments in the fitness arena, it also allows for customized photo sharing as well as a number of associated features such as location-tagged images.

The programs, which also enable commenting and other activities comes after Facebook made changes that opened its platform up to more fitness apps and allowed for the more easily sharing of data and images.

For those that have forgotten the FuelBand is a device that tracks users’ activities and is designed for them to set and track goals. Nike has been working to expand the apps and usages for its Nike+ platform, although Android users are still waiting for advances on that platform.

GPS Developer TomTom Set to Deliver Two Sports Watches


TomTom has delivered a pair of GPS-based sports watches, one that is focused primarily on runners while the other is designed for a more multi sports approach that should appeal to a much broader range of athletes.

The company had two design goals win mind when they built the TomTom Runner and the TomTom Multi-Sport GPS sport watches. It believes that most existing watches in this field are too bulky and cumbersome and so sought to shrink the size and make it a slim, easily worn device. At the same time it was seeking to use a large display to show the graphical training tools. It believes that it reached both of these goals as well as simplifying the use of the watch with its one button control.

The watches are both built on TomTom’s Graphical Training Partner, a program that allows users to track vital statics in real time. It has three basic modes: Race, Goal and Zone. Race allows you to vie against a recently set time or your personal best. Goal allows you to set a number of parameters such as time, distance or calorie and then track how you are doing against your goals. Zone has users set targets such as pace or heart rate and then allows you to track your progress during a workout. A heart monitor for this is an option.

Among the watches other features are an indoor tracker to so that a user can track activity on devices such as a treadmill; QuickGPSFix uses GPS and GLONASS satellite technology to quickly find users’ precise location.

Since many runners and other athletes already often use other apps to track and share progress the watches have the multi-platform compatability and can sync with a variety of alterative platforms including the TomTom MySports website, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal

All of these and other features are standard in both watches while the TomTom Multi-Sport also allows multi-sport athletes to track their distance, time, speed and other key metrics when they cycle or swim and includes a built-in altimeter and a bike mount.

Last year TomTom teamed with Nike for a GPS watch and it ran Nike Fuel but it is not clear if this one will also support Nike’s platform.

The TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport will be available in Summer 2013. The market for sports watches is a fairly crowded one, and one that will get even more packed if all of the rumored hybrid smartwatches that have been reported from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and others actually do come to market. I expect that including all of the ones that have appeared on Kickstarter their will be a glut on the market of these types of devices and users should spend some time considering how and when they plan to use such devices to see what will best fit their needs.

Nike Takes Next Step in Digital Apps with Nike + Accelerator


Last year Nike introduced the Nike + platform and NikeFuel, and activity measurement technology that allows athletes to track their results in real time. Now the company has reached out to expand this effort with the Nike + Accelerator program that will bring in third party developers into the fold.

Nike is working with TechStars, a company that assists startup tech companies in raising seed money, connection to venture capital firms and angel investors as well as providing mentoring services to its clients.

Nike has selected ten companies as partners in the Nike + Accelerator program and will work with them in a three month program designed to help develop new products and services that are focused around the Nike + platform. Nike is seeking to have a broad focus in this program, looking for apps and development in areas such as training, coaching, gaming, sport and wellness.

Each of the ten companies selected will receive assistance in a variety of forms starting with $20,000 in funding. Nike, and others, will also provide mentoring for the companies including app developers, VC funding managers and company executives with 30 mentors available.

The Nike + Accelerator program is expected to end in mid-June and at that time Nike host an Investor Demo Days event at its headquarters during which the companies will have the opportunity to pitch potential investors including Nike for additional funds and partnerships. There will be Demo Days held both at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. and in Silicon Valley.

The ten companies are:
FitDeck: Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver ever-changing workouts for fitness and sports.

GoRecess: Helps users find, book and review fitness activities. An indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity.

CoachBase: Provides a digital sports coaching platform.

GoFitCause: Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities.

HighFive: Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve their goals by rewarding them along their journey.

Sprout At Work: Provider of corporate wellness solutions leveraging social and gamification tools to inspire employees and empower employers.

GeoPalz: An interactive gaming and rewards platform for kids and families.

Incomparable Things: Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues.

RecBob: Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play.

It will be interesting to see if we get true differentiated apps from this push. If so that will likely to encourage others to follow Nike’s footsteps, or for those that already have some form of app developer program to ramp it up another level.

Friday Grab Bag: Samsung to Launch 4 Tablets at MWC?

Microsoft had less than stellar numbers with its Surface RT tablet but now it’s time to see how well it will do focusing more on its basic operating system. The Surface Windows 8 Pro is expected to be released Feb. 8, an interesting choice since the first quarter of the year is traditionally the slowest time in consumer electronics retail sales.

The first tablet from Microsoft in this branch of the Surface family is designed to be integrated into a corporate infrastructure and has wider browser support than the RT version, which only had Internet Explorer support. The Surface Pro will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, dual 720p HD webcams, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSDXC slot, and mini DisplayPort. The 64GB version will list for $899 and the 128GB for $999. The tablets will be available from Microsoft’s retail stores as well as from Staples and Best Buy.

Amazon adds speech-recognition developer Ivona Software to its portfolio
Amazon has announced that it has purchased text-to-speech technology developer Ivona Software. The terms of the acquisition were not revealed. Amazon has a history with the company as Ivona already has a number of features that are included in Amazon’s products including the “Text-to-Speech,” “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” features on Kindle Fire tablets.

Ivona is a 10-year-old company that currently has voice and language technology that includes 44 voices and support for 17 languages. Founded as IVO Software in 2001 by Łukasz Osowski and Michał Kaszczuk, a pair of graduates from the Gdansk University of Technology, they remain active in the company.

Samsung looks to have a busy Mobile World Congress with 4 new tablets

According to a report from SamMobile that was repeated in Tech Digest, Samsung will unveil four tablets at the show in Barcelona next month. Leading off will be the Galaxy Tab 3, with a 7-inch and 10.1-inch member of the family. These are expected to have 3G and Wi-Fi versions.

Then there is the already reported Galaxy Note 8, code-named Kona, also in 3G and Wi-Fi versions and it will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions. The last model, and the one with the fewest details is a high end model code-named Roma that is reported to have 16GB and 32GB versions.

Apple’s earnings disappoints Wall Street
It always seems odd to write a headline like that when a company posts record revenue and sales, but then it is not me who was disappointed. For Apple’s first quarter 2013, which ended Dec. 29, 2012 it posted quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and a quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion.

It sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, up from the same quarter a year ago when it sold 37 million. It also sold a record number of iPads, hitting the 22.9 million mark, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Nike teams up for tradition post-holiday drive with Lose It!
As anyone who has gone to the gym after New Years knows, it is now the season to lose all of the weight that somehow managed to tag along for the ride amid the Egg Nogs and holiday cheer.

The Lose It! App is now connected to the Nike+ API and so users of NikeFuel can integrated data between the two. Lose It! Is designed to be set up as a personalized weight loss program that helps users by not only tracking calories but offering healthy choices in their diet.

Users can earn back calories into their daily diet with a seamless connection between the user’s NikeFuel and their daily calorie budget. The Nike+ FuelBand connection is available for free to all existing and new Lose It! users who have a Nike+ FuelBand. New users can join Lose It! at or by downloading the Lose It! app from iTunes or Google Play.

Major League Soccer, Adidas bring Tracking Technology to Uniforms

MLS All Star Logo

I missed the MLS all start game a few days back that pitted the best that Major League Soccer had to offer against visiting Chelsea Football Club, winners of the UEFA Champions League, a game that the MLS won on a deflected goal.

While the win was a nice boost for MLS I just have a hard time getting all that excited about all star matches, in any sport, but in looking back at some of the news from the match one item caught my eye and this is something that will likely spread to other sports.

It seems that Adidas, one of MLS’ most important backers, used a data tracking technology that is embedded in the uniforms that all of the MLS players wore during the match. The league has said that next season the technology will be used by all of the teams in the league.

Apparently Adidas started developing the technology several years ago, and since it also supplies MLS with uniforms and shoes, it will be a pretty easy feat to incorporate the technology for the season. The technology monitors a variety of player metrics, according to a piece in the Portland Business Journal.

The technology, called the “micoach professional team tracking system” is designed to give coaches and trainers the ability to monitor player position, power output, speed, distance covered, intensity of play, acceleration and GPS heat mapping.


It uses a small data cell that is embedded in the back of a uniform and is designed to rest between a players shoulder blades. It has the ability to wirelessly transmit 200 pieces of data a second, enabling a coach to have a real time outlook on a players effort and performance.

The MLS is expected to make at least some of the data streams available for fans to follow live at a game. I wonder if rivals can hack into a team’s stream to track which layers are lagging and so focus a team’s efforts against said player?

The ability to track athletic performance has been growing, with runners, bikers and a host of others getting anything from Nike + to smartphone-based apps to help monitor and improve performance but this is the first I have seen at a pro level. I hope that the league shares its results at the end of the year to find out what if anything, the data helped improve.

Dear Nike: Where’s My EveryShot TigerCam?

As cool as it is to be the editor of the greatest new sports-biz publication, I can’t pass up the opportunity to apply for the newest job in the golf-social-new-media business: Editor and commentator for Nike’s new EveryShot TigerCam website. As you guessed, this is an Internet location (also available in app form) that shows, every weekend, a full but time-edited version of Tiger Woods’ entire round of golf.

Cool, right? Don’t you wish it really existed? Me too.

After missing out on all but a few minutes of British Open coverage Thursday I had to settle for ESPN’s SportsCenter highlight package and was left hungry for more. Very specifically, I wanted to see more of El Tigre, other than just his amazing out-of-a-divot shot that had ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi screaming like a child when he showed the slow-mo to Tiger afterwards. I wanted to see every drive, every middle iron, every lag putt and maybe get some in-between-holes comments from the man himself.

Why hasn’t Nike, or ESPN, or the PGA, made this happen?

Look — I understand that there are a whole lot of “other” golfers out there who are worth watching. Some of them even win majors. But for me — and all the millions of golf fans who drive up TV viewership whenever Eldrick is in contention — watching golf is all about Tiger first, and everyone else second. I’m not even going to try to explain it, though a fellow fan I met at the Olympic Club during the recent U.S. Open put it best when we both talked about how we became hooked years ago when we watched Tiger blow up the golfing world at the 1997 Masters.

“It was transformational, what he did then,” said my new pal, as we watched Tiger miss a birdie chance on 17 during his Friday round at the U.S. Open. “I haven’t been able to stop watching him since.”

It’s not just me — I have heard many paid golf commentators on TV note this year that yeah, when he is on, there isn’t a better golfer in the world than Woods. Maybe not ever. So — in this day and age of multiple, cheap, easy broadcasting production platforms why in Nike’s name isn’t there some service that, especially for majors, does a quick turnaround and give us a speed-edited complete recap of Tiger’s rounds?

If the folks at Nike want to give me a call I have some great ideas how to make this happen, but basically if you have one editor/producer (this would be me, because I thought of this) and a couple kids just out of school who have camera/FinalCut skilz, you would just follow Tiger around all day and then spend a couple hours each night editing the footage down to just shots and some quick, YouTube-worthy commentary and graphics. Charge five bucks a tournament for viewing, and I bet you would make as much as Tiger does when he’s winning.

(It would sure beat the over-produced “video” section on Woods’ own website, where as of Thursday night the newest stuff is Tiger at… The Greenbrier. Yuk.)

This could scale to other golfers who might be individually interesting — Bubba Watson comes to mind, or maybe long-drive fans would pay a buck a weekend to see every tee shot from Alvaro Quiros. It’s not like it would cost a lot to try. I understand there may be some rights questions but why not give it a test and agree to split the revenues amongst those who have skin in the game now, like the networks and the Tour?

The bottom line is — there is a whole lot of “content” out there every weekend that simply gets lost because of the old model of golf coverage, which is a highly produced show with some guy in a trailer deciding which golfers you should watch. And that’s so 1997, and not in a good way. It’s time to let the fans decide who they want to watch, and how much of that golfer’s round they want to see. C’mon Nike, PGA, and networks. Make my EveryShot TigerCam (the domain is even still available!) a reality.