Nike (NYSE: NKE ) has always wanted to see you on the move, but now it's making things interesting.
The company best known for its athletic footwear and branded performance apparel is hoping to make waves in mobile health by introducing the Nike+ FuelBand.
The high-tech wristband records your daily physical activity through a three-axis accelerometer, scoring your moves using a proprietary metric called NikeFuel. The somewhat fashionable wrist-hugging device isn't cheap: Its suggested retail price is $149.
Nike announced that it would begin taking preorders on its website yesterday, and the initial lot is already sold out. Nike's Twitter feed is promising a second batch of preorders will come soon. Either Nike is keeping inventory tight to hype up initial demand or folks actually want this thing.
Nike isn't the first to market a mobile health accessory. Fitbit wireless trainers and the Jawbone UP band are cheaper and already on the market.
However, the marketing muscle of Nike and the might of its killer brand will make it hard to ignore.
The Nike+ FuelBand solidifies the footwear giant's harmonious relationship with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , as Nike+ gear dates back to the early iPod generations. The new wristband syncs with Apple iOS devices via Bluetooth to track a wearer's progress. Support for other operating systems will follow, but here we find Nike throwing Apple another bone -- for now.
There's obviously more to this for Nike than just moving these $149 wristbands. If it gets owners to exercise more, they'll probably go through more Nike shoes. They'll buy more Nike shirts with Nike's Dri-FIT fabric to keep them dry.
Other companies will benefit, of course. Under Armour (NYSE: UA ) will sell more of its sweat-shaking clothing. Active Network (NYSE: ACTV ) will register more people for local 5K runs and more intense athletic endurance events.
In short, Nike isn't alone in hoping that NikeFuel becomes a hot metric and its Nike+ FuelBand turns into the next fashionable thing to wear around your wrist since Livestrong bands and Silly Bandz.
Nike, Under Armour, and Active Network are hoping that you have $149 to spend now -- and plenty of sweat to spend later.
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