Friday Grab Bag: No Old Style in Chicago

Android USA, a smartwatch maker, has said that its technology will connect its forthcoming smartwatch to other mobile devices that run the Android operating system.

According to the company, its device will wirelessly sync with a smartphone via Bluetooth and give users access to features such as the phone’s music library as well as email and calendar. Pricing and availability of the watch have not yet been announced.

A Phablet too far?
Time magazine has taken a look at the growing trend, and size of phablets, the large smartphone, small-tablet hybrid that is becoming increasingly popular with users, particularly communters who use mass transit and can use the device for both purposes.

The author of the piece ties in sales of the devices with portability, and uses three different sized devices to see how well they do and don’t work in different situations for an interesting read.

Nike+ gets a new app
The Nike+ Move app has been released and for all of you band wearers get ready. Of course the new Fuelband SE Fitness tracker is still pending. The new app is designed to work with iPhone 5S and takes advantage of the new M7 motion coprocessor.

The app has a number of additional features compared to older versions of tracking apps and includes sleep. It has been designed so that users cannot game it and make it appear to be more active than they really are.

Old Style out of style at Wrigley
Bad news for baseball traditionalists in Chicago’s north side, the last can of Old Style beer was served at the last game of the season that just recently concluded. Now fans at Wrigley Field seeking to drink an alternate to some of the big named beers will need to leave their seats and go in search of a cart.

Budweiser has apparently taken over all traveling beer vendor sales and so that will limit the choices of fans. Of course they can always pregame at the Cubby Bear. [editor’s note: Real Cub fans will refuse to order Budweiser, aka Cardinals beer; and Murphy’s is a better pre-game spot especially on sunny days.]

Baseball launches Free Agent Frenzy
No, this is not just the usual hot stove league where people discuss who they want their team to pick up. Instead has a contest that could see you at opening day with free tickets. All you have to do is correctly pick where a number of free agents will end up by the start of next season, with a point for each correct guess. There is a pair of tie breaker questions as well.

Nike delivers new FuelBand and a developers program


With the original introduction of the Nike + FuelBand last year users were presented with a tool that enabled them to track their activities and monitor their exercise of a daily, hourly or even by the second basis.

However active and inactive users learned that the system could be gamed and you could increase your ratings by doing such activities as punching the air. It also fell down on some activities that while strenuous, simply did not register, such as yoga.

Now Nike has come out with a new generation of FuelBands, the Nike + FuelBand SE that not only address the flaws in the first generation but have enhanced features that help you monitor additional activities and even count calories when you are inactive, such as when sleeping.

At a press event in New York that sometimes resembled a calisthenics class the company showed off the latest technology and ran it through its paces, with an assist from some of the more energetic members of the audience.

The company took all of the data that it had accumulated over the past year to fine tune its algorithms that are the heart of the monitoring program and to improve its measurement and tracking capabilities. The band uses Bluetooth 4 technology to connect to the related Nike+ FuelBand app.

The band comes with features that are designed to help motivate you to be active including one called “Win the Hour” that tracks each hour’s total movement that features built-in reminders. Then there is “Fuel Rate” that helps you see how much fuel is being earned. The bands have color coded signals to let you know where you rate. There are others such as “Milestones”, “Nike + Move” app and more.

Nike is also looking to expand the ecosystem of the FuelBand by teaming with developers that will use the NikeFuel APIs in a program called the Nike + Fuel Lab, an enhanced version of what it had been doing with its Nike + Accelerator program.

A downside to the band is there is no apparent Android support as of yet. Android users will have to go to the company’s web site for tracking and information purposes. It does support Apple’s operating system. iOS 7.

The Nike+ FuelBand SE is available for preorder now and will be available beginning Nov. 6 in the current Nike+ FuelBand countries of U.S., Canada, and the UK and for the first time in France, Germany and Japan. The Nike+ FuelBand SE will launch in Black and the Sport Pack colors of Volt, Pink Foil or Total Crimson priced at $149.

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.