Nike‘s second-gen FuelBand fitness monitor will include heart-rate tracking and Bluetooth 4.0, insider sources claim, as well as the ability to feed motion data into third party applications. The sports company is already field-testing the new wearable in casings disguised to look exactly like the first model, Gear Live‘s tipster suggests, with a boost in responsiveness among the improvements mentioned.
According to what was reportedly some brief hands-on time with the FuelBand 2, Nike has fettled the speed that the LEDs react, meaning the band shows data more swiftly than the existing version. The use of Bluetooth 4.0, just as on the Fitbit Flex we reviewed earlier this week, means longer battery life, and Nike has apparently built in auto-synchronization too.
However, Bluetooth 4.0’s potential for always-on connectivity without draining the battery too quickly means that Nike can apparently open up the FuelBand 2’s sensor stream to other software. The updated API will include accelerometer data, it’s claimed, so that games and other apps can track user movements and positioning and use them for control and other features.
Meanwhile, there’s also said to be a heart rate monitor – selected from an option on the band, and used by pinching the sensor against your wrist – and the ability to check battery status from the FuelBand 2 itself. Whereas Nike said back in February it had no plans to release an Android app, the current word supposedly from the company’s campus is that an app for Google’s OS is, in fact, in the pipeline.
Nike launched the first Nike+ FuelBand back in early 2012, one of the first wrist-worn activity monitoring gadgets to reach the market. Since then, it has seen rival devices from Fitbit and Jawbone, among others, though Nike has resolutely stuck to its premium pricing: the FuelBand costs $150, versus the sub-$100 tag on the newest Fitbit Flex, for instance. Exactly when the new FuelBand might launch is unknown, and it’s unclear if it will have features not unofficially previewed, such as sleep tracking as supported on both the UP and Flex.