RunKeeper Pro

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We mentioned RunKeeper, an iPhone application to track all your runs, back in August last year, but since then the application has grown from strength to strength. So much so in fact, that there is now a Pro version available in the Apple iPhone App Store. But wait, here’s the best part — the application is completely free for 24 hours! Grab it for free while you can.

The Future of Nike+

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An exciting new patent filing from Apple gives us a peek into the future of Nike+.  From AppleInsider:

“. . . the system aims to more precisely track a runners performance over a period of time by factoring in various physical characteristics of the runner, such as age, weight, and gender, which could then be used to evaluate the runner’s performance against a reference performance typical of a person having similar physical characteristics.”

The upside is better run data and GPS features.  The downside?  It appears that you must purchase a special pair of GPS enabled Nike shoes.  That sounds expensive.

More info available at AppleInsider, Macworld, and MacDailyNews.

Nike+ Built In to New iPod Touch

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There’s still no support for Nike+ on the iPhone, but if you’ve got a 2nd generation iPod Touch, you’re in luck.  The new device comes with plenty of upgrades, including built in support for Nike+.  That means you can hit the streets running with just the iPod and your chip, no dongle required.  One important note: Nike+ is only supported on the new, 2nd gen Touch.  iPhone, iPhone 3G, and 1st gen iPod Touch users are still without Nike+ functionality.

Follow the links below for more info on the new iPod Touch.

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.

RunKeeper

Running, Technology 2 Comments »

RunKeeper for the iPhone

With the release of the 3G iPhone last month, developers have been frantically producing applications for the public, so it was only a matter of time before a decent running application came along that utilizes the GPS capabilities of the iPhone. RunKeeper is an application currently in development that will allow iPhone runners to track speed, pace, running history, and also has the ability to map runs using GPS. If you are an iPhone owner you might want to hold off on any secondary GPS device until RunKeeper is released. View a video preview on the official RunKeeper Web site, or keep tabs on the latest news via the RunKeeper blog.

DIY Nike+ Battery Replacement

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Is your Nike+ Sport Kit battery kaput?  Don’t want to spend the $20 necessary on a new sensor?  Why not check out this handy, do-it-yourself article, “Replace battery in Nike+ receiver for under $5.”

The steps should take 10-15 minutes to complete and require tools that you probably already have around the house.  You’ll need to buy a new battery, of course, but the required CR2032 battery is easily found at many online retailers and at your local RadioShack.

Via Instructables.

Garmin Forerunner 305 vs Nike+ Sport Kit

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Last month my wife brought home a Garmin Forerunner 305 that her company wanted her to test out.  She didn’t have the time or the energy to test it herself, so she asked me if I would be their guinea pig.  I couldn’t jump in that mouse maze fast enough!  It was the perfect opportunity to perform a head-to-head comparison of the Garmin Forerunner 305 vs the Nike+ Sport Kit.

The calibration for the Garmin took about two minutes.  You have to be outside when you turn the Forerunner on so it can sync with the GPS satellites.  After I zeroed everything out and strapped on the heart monitor, I was off to the races.

The course that I ran was relatively straight and covered a distance of 1.2 miles.  When I finished the Garmin had recorded a distance of 1.27 miles and the Nike+ chip had recorded a distance of 1.19 files.

So, at the end of the run, which one was better?

Unfortunately there isn’t a definitive answer, not from this weekend warrior.  Personally, I prefer the Nike+ chip because:

  • It has an easy setup
  • The music
  • Better online community
  • Less hardware to manage
  • Much cheaper

However, the Garmin Forerunner 305 does have:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • GPS mapping
  • Lap history
  • Slightly more accurate distance

I would recommend the Garmin Forerunner for the serious, hardcore athlete who models their training after a chapter in Lance Armstrong’s book.  For the everyday runner, I can’t endorse the Nike+ Sport Kit enough.  For the price, I don’t think you can beat the Nike+ experience.

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 . . .

Nike Reaches Out to Frustrated Blogger

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Brian Morrissey of The Internal Pigdog politely expressed some frustrations with the accuracy of his Nike+ SportBand over the course of a few posts in mid May.

On May 18:

“So far, I’m underwhelmed. The chart above shows my run today. After nine years of running, I figure I have a pretty good sense of pace. There’s no way it was that slow. I ran today more at 7:30 or a little below. The graph also has all these peaks and troughs that don’t make sense.”

Again, on May 19:

“To test the accuracy, I ran to the park, then started Nike+. I did the four-mile loop (technically, a USATF-measured 4.04). Nike+ told me 3.71 miles. I was pretty much exactly right about the distance. My internal odometer kicked Nike+’s ass.”

Nike responded directly to Brian’s concerns in the person of Blogger user PLe1, the director of Nike’s RUN NYC program.

“Brian, just for the sake of disclosure I’m the director of Nike’s RUN NYC program. I just want that out there so it’s not like I’m hidng the fact I work for Nike.
Out of the box it’s 90% accurate and set for 8 minute pace but it’s designed so that every runner can make it work for their particular cadence by calibrating it.”

Make sure to check out Brian’s article and the article’s comments thread for the whole story.