CES 2016: New Balance announces Android Wear device designed by Runners

New Balance, the famous makers of shoes and sporting related stuff, is getting into digital sports industry via an announcement this morning at CES2016. The official name is the New Balance Digital Sport division that will focus on all types of digital sports, tracking and the community centered around it.

The first device that New Balance plans on releasing is an Android Wear smartwatch for people who run and designed by those who run. This new Android Wear watch will of course be powered by Google as well as Intel. It’ll have a GPS embedded and allow runners to take music on the go with them, which means no need for a phone on the body during workouts. Other than that, no other details have been provided in terms of specs or price or feature set, but New Balance is hoping to launch the device by this years holidays.

New Balance Android Wear Device

This sounds very familiar to what Nike has done in the past with the Nike+ platform with their Fuel Band and other similar items they have put out on the market. While it’s no surprise New Balance doesn’t want to fall behind the already bigger companies doing this similar thing, I’m definitely curious how they will make it better or different for it to catch on in the sporting industry. Their plan is team up with companies such as Google, Intel, Strava, Zepp and others to create a full line of apparel and shoes that will have this new technology included to help keep and get people into shape.

You can read the full press release below for all the details that New Balance has given up to this point. Unfortunately as I stated above pricing isn’t yet available so it’ll be interesting to see exactly what all the device will include as far as specs and how much it’s going to set us back to keep track of all of our physical fitness related stats.

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New “Digital Sport” Division To Develop Innovative Digital Experiences and Wearable Technologies, Launching With Smartwatch in 2016

BOSTON, January 5, 2016 – Global athletic leader New Balance announced today at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas a new division dedicated exclusively to connecting consumers with the technology they desire to improve their athletic performance.  New Balance Digital Sport will focus on understanding, motivating and improving the lives of athletes through digital experiences and wearable technologies.  The first consumer product to launch from the new division will be a smartwatch, expected to begin retailing in the 2016 holiday season.

“New Balance has a 110-year heritage of product development and innovation in the running category, and, our new Digital Sport division represents our newest commitment to invest in athletes and runners around the world in their pursuit of extraordinary physical feats,” said Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance.  “Digital technology has truly revolutionized, very quickly, this industry and New Balance wants to continue to be a brand on the forefront, arming our athletes with the cutting-edge products that will help them reach peak performance.”

New Balance Digital Sport will develop a comprehensive athlete-focused digital ecosystem featuring innovative New Balance-branded wearable technology products designed to improve physical performance.  The company will partner with leading digital, hardware and software companies, including Intel, Google, Strava and Zepp, to incorporate smart technologies, optimized for wearable consumer products, into footwear and apparel lines across a variety of sports. 

Digital Sport will initially focus on three product categories: devices, including the smart-watch; embedded technology, such as intelligent sensors integrated into New Balance footwear and apparel; and performance sport, including sports equipment micro-fob that senses, analyzes and provides feedback on the athlete’s performance.

The division’s inaugural product will be a smartwatch that will enable athletes to work out while untethered from their smart phones.  Specifically designed for runners by runners, the watch will track runners’ routes via GPS and also enable them to run with music, all without carrying their smartphones.  Google and Intel will be providing the athlete focused smartwatch platform powered by Android WearTM.

“Technology has tremendous power to make the amazing possible, and nowhere is that more apparent than in sports and fitness,” said Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel Corporation. “As an avid runner, I look forward to seeing how our collaboration with New Balance and their deep intelligence about the running experience can unlock the performance potential for runners everywhere.”

Following the smartwatch launch at Holiday 2016, New Balance will market other devices throughout 2017 and 2018. To complement the wearable consumer products it is developing, New Balance Digital Sport will also create digital experiences, the first of which will be New Balance Run Club.  This digital and physical community of runners will be powered by Strava and utilize its platform to bring more New Balance runners together, online and offline. Run Club runners will use Strava to connect with each other, track performance, share their favorite routes and celebrate accomplishments.  Run Club athletes will also participate in group and individual virtual training programs for key races and running events, as well as virtual races between individuals and clubs.  Additionally, physical Run Club activity will be centered in New Balance stores and includes local runs, group training, alternative training and classes. The first Run Club will launch in Boulder, CO in early 2016; others will launch in key running markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia in 2016.

For more information please www.newbalance.com/digitalsport, media please visit the New Balance Press Box to download images http://newbalance.newsmarket.com/.

About New Balance

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is the only major company to make or assemble more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA, which represents a limited portion of our US sales. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 5,000 associates around the globe, and in 2014 reported worldwide sales of $3.3 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com.

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