Yamaha’s $299 BODiBEAT expensive, lame

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I really don’t have a clue how Yamaha thinks it’s going to compete in the personal audio player/workout market with its new product, the BODiBEAT.  The concept, a personal audio player that automatically syncs the rhythm of your tunes to the rhythm of your workout, is cool.  The execution, a 512MB armband with proprietary headphones/ear-clip heart rate monitor, is not.  Adding to the lameness is the proprietary desktop software, BODiBEAT Station, used to categorize your 512MB of tunes by beats per minute (BPM) for use in your workouts.

From the press release:

“The worlds first music player that selects songs to match the pace of the users workout, it automatically syncs music selections with the steps of the users walk or run. A total workout tracking and personal music solution, BODiBEAT redefines the capabilities of portable music players, and makes exercising more fun than ever before. “

Yeah, right.  Perhaps if Yamaha had brought this product to market five or seven years ago, it would be worth some consideration.  As it stands now, I can’t believe they’ve released this product with a straight face.  Seriously, head over to NewEgg and grab a 1GB music player for about $40.  Then go over to JogTunes or Google and grab yourself some tunes that match a nice, comfortable pace.  Already have an iPod Nano?  Then just grab the Nike+ Sport kit and some BPM’d tunes.  Seriously, any combination of music player plus music you already like has got to be better than dropping $299 on this thing.

Nike+ iPhone Screenshots Leaked

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UPDATE: AppleInsider says that the leaked screenshots are fakes.  Are the screenshots the real deal or are they the result of a hopeful photoshopper?  We report, you decide.

The Nike+ iPhone we’ve all been waiting for may now be one step closer to reality.  Leaked screenshots are showing up all over the web this morning, all of them seeming to come from the french blog iPhon.fr.  Gizmodo has this to say:

From what we can skim, Nike+ users will get all of the nifty performance graphs right on the phone (before this stuff was available on the web only). But the biggest improvement over the old Nike system may be Google Maps support.

Rumor has it that we’ll see the new functionality coming sometime in September.  I’m excited, but I’m not holding my breath.  What have you guys heard?  Let us know in the comments.

Going for Gold (Update)

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Last month we interviewed Jordan Desilets, a US 3,000m Steeplechase athlete who was participating in the US Olympic Trials. Jordan took part in the 3km Steeplechase final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon yesterday afternoon and finished in 8th place with a time of 8:38.84, missing out on a spot in the US Olympic team by just 17 seconds.

Watch the Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase Final, US Olympic Trials

The top three finishers, Anthony Famiglietti (8:20.24), William Nelson (8:21.47), and Joshua McAdams (8:21.99) will all represent the United States at the Beijing Olympics which begin on August 8. We wish Jordan and the three Olympic qualifiers the best of luck for the future.

Nike+ Gym Equipment at 24 Hour Fitness

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Forbes reports that 24 Hour Fitness will soon begin outfitting selected gyms with Nike+ iPod enabled equipment.

“24 Hour Fitness, the largest fitness club chain in the U.S., is the first to offer new Nike + iPod enabled gym equipment in select clubs across the country. Nike and Apple worked with major gym equipment manufacturers to make their cardio equipment Nike + iPod compatible so gym members can easily track and record workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes.”

We wrote about the Nike+ Gym tie-in back in March, along with Endgadget, Gizmodo, and others.  It’s nice to see some promised new features coming to pass.  Now let’s see about that Nike+ iPhone integration . . .

The Human Race

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The Human Race

What if all Nike+ runners could run in the same race, on the same day, no matter where they are in the world? The flexibility of Nike+ gives runners of all abilities the opportunity to do this. The race, to be known as The Human Race, will be taking place on August 31, 2008.

The 10km (6.21 miles) event will unite over a million Nike+ runners from all around the world in not just a battle of fitness, speed and stamina, but also a battle to raise money for three well known charities - The UN Refugee Charity, The Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the World Wildlife Fund. Each participating Nike+ runner can choose a charity to represent while they run, and every step in the race will earn money towards their selected charity. Starting in July, the Nike+ Web site will also allow runners to accept and manage personal donations from friends, family and colleagues.

400mToGo.com will be participating in this historic event, will you? More info and sign-up here.

Mini Me

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MINI Me - Cory

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve had time to sit down and write I almost forgot my login. Nonetheless, I was able to navigate the archives in my head to bring you what I humbly believe is one of the greatest features of the Nike+ site. No, it’s not the new online training program (the one that will set a custom training program up for you), nor is it any of the various widgets that are available for download (desktop and screensaver flavors). It’s the “My Nike+ Mini“, truly the greatest thing since sliced bread.

To begin the creation of your little sidekick, click on the “My Nike+ Mini: Create Your Own” image, in the lower right-hand corner of the Nike+ website, beneath the “Last Run” dashboard (If you can’t find the link, try looking under the “Runs” menu). From there, the creation wizard makes it easy to customize the look of your Nike+ Mini. You’re able to customize from a stock selection of hair, eyes, mouth, nose, shoes, clothing and even facial hair.

After you’ve created your “Mini Me”, you have the option to download it as a screensaver or to add it as a widget to your Facebook account. All the more reason to pick up an iPod nano and a Nike+ Sport Kit. Who needs challenges when you can create a flash version of yourself? Note: likeness will vary.

I hope this is just a sample of many new features to come from the Nike+ website.

Behind-the-Scenes with Nick Onken

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Photographer Nick Onken is currently in Latin America on a three-week assignment for Nike Running. Details on his project are thin, but this behind-the-scenes video gives us some clues. Enjoy.

TrailRunner: Mac Software that Routes your Runs

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TrailRunner screenshot

We’ve discussed how to use an online pedometer to map and route your runs. Now there’s a new piece of Mac software that promises similar functionality with a much richer interface and a great set of features.

TrailRunner is a freeware application offered by Berbie Software.

“TrailRunner is a route planning software for all kinds of long distance sports . . . . TrailRunner can calculate a route for your desired distance and export directions onto your iPod, giving you a detailed orientation while you are on your way.”

TrailRunner is compatible with the Garmin Forerunner products, promising the ability to “display and manage workouts . . . directly from Garmin Training Center.” Support for the Nike+ Sport kit is available as well. The feature list is too long and too rich to include here, so head over to the TrailRunner home page to check it out for yourself.

At first blush, TrailRunner seemed to be the one killer app I’d like to use to map and manage my run data. The fact that it’s only available for the Mac is a deal killer for me.

Are you using TrailRunner? Let us know in the comments how you like it and if you’d recommend it to the rest of us.

Nike Dumps Crispin for Weiden

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According to various online reports, Nike has dumped ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky after a brief 13-month relationship. According to AdvertisingAge, “Nike is shifting its running-shoe and Nike-Plus business back to lead agency Wieden & Kennedy.” While this won’t make much practical difference to us in the short term, the single most interesting item about this is that Crispin Porter was apparently working on the Nike+ website. I’ve stated before the Nike+ site is prettier than it is functional, and an interview with Nike’s Chris Shimojima seems to point at some coming changes to the site. I’m hoping that dumping Crispin for Wieden may help speed that process a bit.

It’s Official, the 405 is Shipping!

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With all of the speculation surrounding the release date of the Garmin Forerunner 405, I decided to go straight to Garmin and ask them when the new device will be released. I got this response from a Garmin Product Support Specialist in my inbox this morning:

The Forerunner 405 have started shipping. They have only been shipping out for a few days, so it may still be another week or two until some retailers start to receive them.

The 405 still shows up as “not yet released” on Amazon, but REI apparently already has some in stock.

Read Scott’s pre-release review of the 405 here.

Visit Garmin’s 405 site, with specs, manuals, and FAQs, here.

UPDATE: 405’s have arrived at Chicago’s Garmin store, and a tip on getting 15% off from a commenter at Navigadget.