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Nike on Why No Android Love for Fuelband: Lack of Bluetooth LE Support, Too Many Devices, Not Apple


I think it’s safe to say that our level of disappointment and frustration peaked after Nike unveiled their newest Fuelband a few weeks back and failed once again to deliver any sort of Android support. This has been a painful journey for those of us who adopted the wearable early, yet continue to use the most popular mobile OS on the planet. Shortly after the original was introduced in 2012, we were told for months that Android support was coming. Eventually, Nike backed away from that stance and has since only said that they are focusing on iOS. The same brief reasoning was given with the new Fuelband SE at its unveiling, however, Pocket-Lint was able to get a few extra details out of Nike VP Stefan Olander. 

According to Olander, there are a few reasons that Nike has decided to stay away from the most popular mobile OS on the planet (How many times do I need to say that?). One has to do with the lack of Bluetooth LE support, which actually makes some sense since Android 4.3 finally introduced the low energy connectivity to the platform. Olander said, “With 200 Android devices available on the market, Bluetooth LE hasn’t really matured for Android yet and so we felt that we couldn’t get the most out of an app on Android at this time.” Fair enough, not many devices are running Android 4.3 and above, so we’ll give Olander that. To make an always connected experience useful and not a hinderance to your daily life, Bluetooth LE support is sort of a must-have.

Olander also tossed out the there are too many devices, and the experience is the most important thing, so we’re focusing on iOS card. Look, Nike, we get it – there are hundreds of different Android devices out there, many of which are terrible. And sure, the experience on those may not be as good as it is on others, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the entire platform. We have already seen companies hand-pick select Android devices that they know their apps or accessories will work best with. Why not start with the Galaxy S4 and HTC One and Moto X? You can fine-tune the experience for those, and then slowly branch out to others if you want to. But ignoring the entire operating system because 200 phones has overwhelmed you? Come on.

And last, Olander essentially said that because no one on Android is like Apple, they aren’t interesting in working with them yet. He said, “We’ve worked with Apple for seven years and like that they set the bar high for themselves as well as others. It is about the experience.” So in other words, Android is cheap, dirty, and doesn’t care how it looks or feels. OK, I could be reaching, but he’s putting Apple up on this pedestal of greatness when there are companies making Android phones that are doing just as good if not better work with quality and experience. Olander apparently insisted that they aren’t against Android, only that they “waiting for someone to create an experience that aligns with our values.”

The Bluetooth LE issue makes a lot of sense to me, the others never will. Fitbit and countless other companies are able to deliver incredible products on Android and yet, they aren’t even close to being as big as Nike. Whether they are or not, it just feels like Nike is stuck in 2009, where anyone with an iPhone carried themselves like some greater being. Wake up, Nike.

Via:  Pocket-Lint

Cheers Jake!

  • I’m in line with how you feel about this Kellen. Bluetooth compatibility is one thing, and completely understandable. But to ignore Android as a whole is not a great business decision.

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  • Joe Avery

    So Nike says “If they aren’t willing to hold our hand, we don’t want to sell a product on their platform”?
    Guess what.. Don’t need them anyway.. Never have been a fan of Nike… Adidas all the way…

  • n11

    At this point with this BS, screw Nike and Tim Cook.

  • Apple users have more money as a whole. A HUGE percentage of iPad users make over $100k a year, which isn’t hard to believe if you consider an iPad can run you almost a $1,000 lol.

    • sirmeili

      Do you have actual facts to back up that claim or are you just making up stats. What is “HUGE” anyways?

    • Stevedub40

      Hmm, that’s funny. My wife works at Ross (super discount clothing store) and I always see little kids running around with ipads in those protective rubber cases. I highly doubt these people make 100k a year.

    • ajaxman93

      So you’re claiming that the “Walmart crowd” makes over a $100k a year. Good luck with that…

  • Wizo

    Why is this an issue? Just buy the fitbit loop instead and don’t give your money to a company who doesn’t seem to care about YOUR experience. As long as we keep buying their products and finding workarounds to their neglectful shortcomings they have no reason to care about the Android community. Let’s just stop buying their products and see how they react when our money goes to their competitors…

  • Octotron

    No problem Nike… since you don’t want to support me, I will just support your competitor’s instead.

    • Tojen1981

      UnderArmour ftw!

  • I’m very invested in the Nike+ ecosystem and this really upsets me. Nike+ has been a great motivational tool for me and I have many friends on it as well. I’m basically stuck at this point. The funny thing is, they could improve their whole Nike+ service too. It is constantly missing handing out achievements/badges. Nike doesn’t appear to have a single creative mind involved with the project. To me, this ecosystem is a money magnet if you just invest some additional time and resources. Just look at me…I think the FitBit Force looks awesome, but since I’ve got friends and hundreds of miles invested in Nike+ I am not going anywhere. This should motivate them to expand and improve…unfortunately it has had the opposite effect.

  • user311

    That’s fine I don’t want your crappy tacky band that looks like it comes straight out of the second back to the future movie. I’ll wait for someone to create an experience which aligns to my values, the Google watch looks like it’ll do the trick.

    PS, f.u. Tim cook, sell your bulls hit dribble to your fanatics because the rest of the world ain’t buying it.

  • Sjschwar

    Isn’t the fitbit better, cheaper, and has a longer battery life?

  • Peter Blanco

    Because they want to alienate over half of the possible consumers, duh!

  • flosserelli

    WTF ever, Nike. I don’t buy any of your overpriced crap anyway. You and Apple were made for each other.

    • ROBAN

      very well

    • Stevedub40

      Amen to this. I’m sick of these snobby companies that make it so you have to have some sort of social status to own their overprices crap. I am done with Nike as well.

  • Sirx

    “Tis better to be thought a fool…”

  • Nike just gave Android owners “the finger”…

  • g2gsr

    I haven’t done any dev work on Android in a couple years, so correct me if I’m wrong. But can’t you specify in the manifest/requirements of an app both the lowest version of Android required and the screen size and/or resolution required?

    BAM!! That fixes the “we can’t create the best experience” crap they are trying to feed us.

    • That could help, but it wouldn’t address issues like performance and the level of Bluetooth support.

      • sirmeili

        They could actually limit what devices they release it to though. I do believe that the Play Store allows that kind of limitation on who can install apps.

  • Greg Williams

    Uhm… who the f cares?

  • Frettfreak

    First of all F – YOU NIKE. So this brand NEW bluetooth LE that i am pretty sure only came available with the latest iOS crap as well is the reason you have been ignoring android for a few years huh?

    And to the whole “there are lots of devices” BS and we want a good experience blah blah blah… then why do you make cheap Nike as well as Jordans? I mean i had a bad experience with some lower end nike shoes so i am just going to buy Adidas from now on.

    this just cements my stance against Nike. I have no problem boycotting you on principal alone.

    • Respen

      Just for the record, BT LE is not new, the Android OS was just late to the game supporting it. That doesn’t really matter though, as the most popular OEM (Samsung) has been including it since I believe the S3, I know my Note 2 supports it and that’s why my Fitbit works great with Android.

  • Droid Ronin

    I have to call BS on the Bluetooth LE argument. The first gen Nike Fuelband didn’t support Bluetooth LE and they still kept it on iOS.
    Anyways, none of that matters; I will not give Nike my business. I am thinking of getting either a Fitbit One or Withings Pulse.

  • This is such a load of crap. Let me say this right now… Nike, don’t bother. I will gladly give my money to companies that actually want it.

  • Adrian Chapmanlaw

    Dont worry nike we never wanted your crappy thing anyway

    • sirmeili

      Unfortunately, some of us bought it when they were promising an Android app. To be honest though, there is little benefit to needing it to connect to your phone. It updates when you plug it in to charge anyways.

      The best benefit I found to owning one. Every time I get one replaced through warranty, they start the warranty over. From this moment on, I will probably never have to buy another fuelband again…LOL

      • efforting

        What are you doing that keeps breaking them? I am absolutely harsh in ways Nike would never had expected with my launch day fuelband and its still functions flawlessly. I can’t even imagine what you are putting yours through to have so many failures. You have got to be a madman!

        • sirmeili

          Absolutely nothing. The first one the admitted was a factory defect It stopped working almost exactly after a year. It just wouldn’t connect to a computer and it wouldn’t store any data. The second one, the button stopped working. I don’t know why, it just stopped working. The device itself still works I just can’t check any stats (really only Fuel) unless I plug it into my computer.

  • Cael

    It’s ok. Nike doesn’t like money. We can just give it to someone else like Adidas.

  • greyhulk

    Here at Nike, we like to try and be successful with a product by limiting its demographic right out of the gate!

  • Dan the Man

    i’ve actually stopped buying nike products – exactly because of this sh….
    i have a lot of sportswear from Nike (Shoes, clothes…) but i actually stopped buying Nike products a few months ago. There are a lot of other good sportswear comanys out there…

  • Batman

    “waiting for someone to create an experience that aligns with our values.”

    Oh, like having sweatshops in Asia producing most of your footwear? Those kinds of values?

  • Droidzilla

    El sad.

    • Employee

      The FACT is… Nike has an agreement with Apple and cant release an android version until end of 2014

      • Droidzilla

        Nice comment res.

  • Dorian Brooks

    I know a good portion of their lineup is low-end to mid-tier phones, but did someone NOT tell Nike that Samsung sold more phones in the last year than Apple, HTC, & LG combined?

  • Jeff Badger

    The Bluetooth LE isn’t even an issue as many OEMs added that feature to their phones even if the Operating System didn’t have it. Look at Samsung as the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Note 2, and Note 3 all have Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth LE. Those four phones cover millions of Android users.

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    • Rice30


  • wade_county

    “We have already seen companies hand-pick select Android devices that they know their apps or accessories will work best with. Why not start with the Galaxy S4 and HTC One and Moto X? You can fine-tune the experience for those, and then slowly branch out to others if you want to.”

    This is my constant argument on simultaneous release on iOS and Android, as well.

  • Zach B.

    I find all those reasons legit! It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with Tim Cook sitting on the Board of Directors for Nike…………………………………


  • David Triscari

    “We’ve worked with Apple for seven years and like that they set the bar high for themselves as well as others. It is about the experience.”

    Shouldn’t he be worrying about the experience with customers and the service, not their own dealings with companies?

  • decidedtochangename

    Is it that hard to believe that Apple backed up a money truck for them too? I mean that product has to stand on its own to stay alive and a Apple money truck would certainly be tempting for them I would assume. Just ask EA/pop-cap.
    Yes I know they now deny it, but I’m more likely to believe that’s because Apple has over a barrel with an NDA than a accident.

  • tommyfresh

    This has nothing to do with the Nexus 5, so I didn’t read it…

  • “most popular mobile OS on the planet”

    You can actually skip the “mobile” part. http://www.businessinsider.com/microsofts-biggest-problem-in-one-chart-2013-9

    • Rice30

      Isn’t “‘Business Insider Intelligence” an Oxymoron?

  • Rice30

    How about the developers of Tweetbot and Infinity Blade. They need to stop being so arrogant.

    • palomosan

      Who cares about this people, this are the fools that we don’t need in Android, we have plenty of great games on Android, don’t need those two.

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