Nike’s Fuelband, the Shiny iOS-Powered New Fitness Gadget, Sold Out in Four Minutes

Have your heard of this new contraption by Nike, the Fuelband? It’s the company’s latest attempt to capitalize on the techno-fitness craze, and you can’t get in on it.

A limited quantity of Nike Fuelbands went on sale yesterday at 5PM for $149 a pop. A tipster, who was in the market for a Fuelband, explains his experience trying to score one:

They opened it up for preorder with a tweeted link at 5pm just now, sold out by 5:04 and people got screwed because the site crashed.

Fucking insanity. Can’t wait for the homicides to start

Runner’s rage, perhaps?

So, what is this insanity-inducing so-called Fuelband thingermjigger? Basically, it’s a watch that seals around your wrist with a USB port. It then counts your physical activity for the day not by calories, but by “oxygen kinetics,” which is then translated into a metric Nike came up called Nikefuel, which is the number assigned to your physical activity for the day. It then shares your Nikefuel output with your iPhone/iPod, which it then does a bunch of things with: Broadcasts it socially, measures it with your day-to-day, compares it with your emotions that day, etc. It’s kind of compelling. It goes in line with the continued Gamification of Fitness Craze and the Self-Quantified Life. It’s also currently totally sold out.

Try to get one, and you’re probably gonna see this:

Nike first started to get into the techno fitness watch craze with the Nike+ Apple system, wherein, you put a button under your Nike shoes, and it syncs up to your iPod/iPhone. It gave rise to a bunch of technofitness gizmos since then: the Jawbone, Fitbit, etc. But a bunch them aren’t that great. And Gizmodo says the Fuelband is “awesome.” It’s supposed to be the best one of these things yet, for those obsessed with this kind of thing.

Since the debut of the Fuelband in January—and of course, Jeremy Lin’s effect on the athletic apparel market—Nike stock’s been on the-up-and-up:


One of the crucial features of the Fuelband is the way it participates in social networks: If it works, and people begin advertising their “Nikefuel” outputs on Twitter, they’ll have a device on their hands that creates and advertises its own viral element through its users. Which, for any company retailing anything, is the Magical Gobstopper of retail that everyone’s trying to get right.

For further evidence, see the New York Times‘ own Twitter-savvy media reporter Brian Stelter’s interview about losing weight publicly, on Twitter:

I had tried in the past — in very slight ways, without a real goal — to eat better and I would fail every time because no one around me knew I was trying. This time, by having it on Twitter, both my friends and family — as well as strangers — would hold me accountable. So if I did screw up and if I did have too many cookies, I’d hear about it from people on Twitter, and I needed that constant reinforcement because you really are fighting against both yourself and also society when you’re trying to lose weight, and I needed that reinforcement all the time.”

The Nike Fuelband could just be a (literal) product of retail hype and Shiny New Thing qualities that doesn’t do much for the entire market of products merging technology and good old fashioned fitness. Or it could revolutionize it.

There’s also the possibility that this exciting new diet pill will just do the work for us and make everyone forget about how important exercise is. So, who knows. But it’ll be interesting to watch, considering all the mostly-failed attempts of the past for this kind of thing to catch on. | @weareyourfek Nike’s Fuelband, the Shiny iOS-Powered New Fitness Gadget, Sold Out in Four Minutes