A little over a year ago, Nike made headlines when it announced that it was not working an Android app for its Nike+ FuelBand users. A few months ago, reports surfaced that the company was cutting down its hardware team and possibly moving to a software-centric strategy. This week, the company announced that a companion Android app is now available for Nike+ FuelBand SE customers.
While the app's description is almost exactly the same as the description in the Apple App Store, the Android version doesn't offer the Nike+ Groups feature that lets users connect with friends, family and co-workers through leaderboard and photo sharing features.
The app also only supports Nike's newest FuelBand, the Nike+ FuelBand SE, not the FuelBand 1.0.
In April, CNET reported that as many as 55 people were cut from the Nike FuelBand team. Given Nike's longstanding relationship with Apple and the anticipated launch of Apple's iWatch this year, it looked like Nike was pivoting to focus only on software that would likely integrate with the iWatch. While this could still very well be the company's plan, with new Android support, Nike is clearly still trying to sell its wristworn activity tracking devices.
“With 30 million users, NikeFuel is rapidly becoming the universal measure of activity. Now, with the launch of the Nike+ FuelBand App for Android we’re delighted to help even more athletes get better,” Stefan Olander, Nike’s VP of Digital Sport said in a statement. “This is another important step in the continued growth of our powerful ecosystem of digital products and services.”
It may be unclear what the fate of the FuelBand is, but at Apple’s WWDC event this year it was clear that Nike's and Apple's special relationship is still intact.
“Now we carefully protect your privacy, so you have total control over which applications have access to your health information," Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said at the event. "But you can, of course, provide different activity, weight, heart rate information to the Nike app. And Nike’s working to integrate HealthKit, so they use that information to help you in your personalized fitness goals.”
The new FuelBand SE Android app is available for download in English in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Japan.