Nike Releases FuelBand for Android this FIFA Season - Analyst Blog


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According to market sources, the world's leading athletic footwear company, Nike Inc. ( NKE ) finally expanded its Nike+ FuelBand application compatibility to Google Inc .'s ( GOOG ) Android operating system enabled smartphones. Earlier, the apps compatibility was only restricted to Apple Inc. 's ( AAPL ) iOS.

However, not every smartphone user will be lucky enough to get their hands on the app as it requires Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or above along with Bluetooth LE support. Therefore, the owners of Samsung's Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, as well as Moto X, HTC One and Nexus 5 will be able to enjoy the benefit of FuelBand on their phones. Moreover, the app is only compatible with the newly launched FuelBand SE model.

FuelBand is a device which when connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth tracks one's steps and burned calories. The Android powered smartphone users had to wait for nearly two and a half years to use this fitness gadget due to the absence of Bluetooth LE in most Android handsets. Therefore, Nike had to keep its FuelBand support restricted solely to iOS devices in the past.

It could not have been better timed for Nike to launch this fitness app, as it is the official sponsor of one of the world's mega sporting events, the FIFA World Cup 2014. The quadrennial soccer tournament arguably has the biggest television audience compared to any other sporting events in the world.

The global viewership is expected to multiply immensely this year with broad proliferation of digital and social media channels. As such, sponsors are likely to pull every possible trick to showcase their products during the tournament for maximum brand exposure and top-of-the-mind recall.

We believe that the timing is also crucial for Nike to introduce this app as rumor of other companies launching similar wearable gadgets is heating up. As per market sources, Apple is scheduled to introduce a fitness gadget called iWatch by the fall of 2014. Apart from this, Google is also expected to launch Android Wear which will be available on certain Smartphones including Motorola's Moto 360 smartwatch. It is also expected that companies such as Lenovo, Samsung, and Fossil Group Inc. ( FOSL ) will also launch their fitness trackers in the market very soon.

Nike's recent move has also discarded the market speculation that it is trying to get out of the wearable business altogether as the company has laid off several employees from the hardware department. At least for now, it appears that Nike will continue to work in the software market to provide support to its existing devices.

Currently, Nike carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
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