Nike+ SportBand First Look

News, Nike+, Running, Technology 3 Comments »

Following on from the new Nike+ SportBand prototypes we reported last month, Nike has just revealed the official design of their new running gadget. The black and red device will be available to purchase as quickly as April 2008 for approximately $95 and will allow runners to record pace, distance and calories in exactly the same way as the original Nike+, but without the need for an iPod Nano. Running data can then be uploaded after a run via USB.

It’s not a bad idea: Say your iPod battery is dead or you simply do not have your iPod with you, the Nike+ SportBand will literally be on hand to record all your running data. The SportBand still requires communication with a Nike+ shoe sensor, so it would make sense for the SportBand to be shipped with a sensor.

Removing the iPod entirely from the equation allows Nike to tap into the running market for athletes who do not own (or wish to own) an Apple iPod Nano. Now that’s what I call covering all your bases! That said however, anyone using the Nike+ SportBand without an iPod is going to be missing out on the infamous “400 meters to go!” etc. voice motivation and celebratory congratulations from Lance Armstrong and Paula Radcliffe.

Adidas In the Race Against Nike+

News, Running, Technology 3 Comments »

Adidas and Samsung have teamed-up together to take on the mighty Nike+. The new quad-band Samsung miCoach F110 mobile phone is due for release in April as a direct competitor to the Apple/Nike+ online world of fitness and motivation.

The phone comes with a foot sensor called the “stride sensor” which attaches to the shoelace of the running shoe in exactly the same way the Nike+ sensor can be attached to the shoelace. Where the Samsung device differs however is that you also get a heart rate monitor device to strap across your chest which allows the mobile phone to measure your heart rate throughout your workout. One nice feature the F100 offers is the ability to tell the user whether they are running too fast or too slow based on the combination of the heart rate recording and a predefined training program the user selects prior to a workout.

Samsung has also promised a new feature in the near future that will automatically play music during a workout based on your running speed. Slower tracks would be played while walking for example, and faster-paced music would play during more intense workouts.

Users upload their workout data in a similar fashion to Nike+, by connecting the Samsung device to a PC (no Apple Mac support yet apparently) which then gets sent to a dedicated Web site called miCoach (pronounced “My Coach”).

More resources:

miCoach F100 review

F100 photos and miCoach screenshots

miCoach fitness portal

Garmin Forerunner 405

Running, Technology 17 Comments »

Meet your new best friend, the Garmin Forerunner 405. Scheduled for release in the US on April 21, 2008, on the same day the Boston Marathon takes place, the new Forerunner model will take personal training to a new dimension.

UPDATE: While the 405 was available for purchase at the Boston Marathon Expo, the general release date has been pushed back and has been difficult to nail down. The 405 could be released anytime between today and August of this year. You can pre-order your Forerunner 405 on Amazon now.—Ed.

UPDATE: The 405 is shipping! —Ed.

Building upon the success of the feature-rich but somewhat clunky-looking Forerunner 305 and Forerunner 205 predecessors, the GPS-enabled 405 has been redesigned as a stylish watch that can be worn all day long.

Unlike Nike+, which is based on an accelerometer sensor, the 405 uses GPS satellites to continuously track and record all your runs. So instead of having to attach anything to your shoe to help record or relay data, the Forerunner 405 records everything within the watch. Time, distance, calories, pace and even heart rate data (via a corresponding heart rate monitor accessory), are all collected by the 405.

Here’s the clincher: As soon as you’re done with your workout, and you get back home, your run data is sent wirelessly to your computer. While the Apple iPod Nano can only communicate your Nike+ data through iTunes via a USB connection, the Forerunner upload involves no wires whatsoever.

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