Nike+ FuelBand’s rumored pinch-for-heart-rate feature unlikely

By: Brian Dolan | May 14, 2013        

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Nike Fuel BandLast week a widely spread rumor made it’s way to various tech blogs about the next generation Nike+ FuelBand: Reportedly, the second generation device is currently being tested by Nike employees who are wearing it out in the public because the prototype still has the form factor of the original. A report in gadget blog, Gear Live, claims that the next FuelBand will include Bluetooth 4.0 (aka Bluetooth Smart) auto-syncing, heart rate sensing, a faster UI, and accelerometer data accessibility via the API.

The report also claims that a Nike+ FuelBand Android app is also in the works, even though the company previously said it would not stray from Apple’s iOS platform.

“First, a heart rate monitor will be built-in to the upcoming FuelBand,” Gear Live’s Andru Edwards writes. “You scroll through your options to get to the heart rate monitor, and then pinch the FuelBand on the monitor area, and it will take your pulse. We weren’t able to confirm if it would save the results to your Nike+ profile for tracking purposes, or if it was just something to give you information when you used it.”

Based on Gear Live’s widely cited report, the next generation FuelBand would require users to “pinch” the device between two fingers to get a pulse reading. Meanwhile, other wearable devices like those offered by Basis and BodyMedia are able to passively read heart rate from the person’s wrist — no pinching required.

Would Nike really offer up a second generation FuelBand that was more difficult to use than devices made by its (much smaller) competitors? Devices that are already available in the market? The pinch-for-heart-rate feature would be a misstep for Nike. This part of the rumor, anyway, seems unlikely to come to pass, but if it does, it could prove to give other device makers a real leg up on the FuelBand 2.