We've got some bad news for those who were getting excited about the style potential of Nike FuelBand, which came out with a rose gold version of its fitness tracker late last year: The athletics company has decided to pull the plug on hardware development in its Digital Sport division. CNet reports that Nike is doing so in favor of focusing on developing its fitness software, which would then work on another manufacturer's devices — say, Apple's iWatch.
A rep for Nike did not respond immediately to request for comment.
According to a source for CNet, about 70 to 80 percent of the 70-person hardware team was let go last Thursday. The Digital Sport division is a 200-person operation overall.
For the time being, Nike will continue to sell its existing Nike+ FuelBand SE, and it will keep releasing new "Metaluxe" colors — so it can keep on doing the good work of getting the fashion industry comfortable with wearable tech. In the fall Nike will be publicly releasing the API for Nike+, ushering in this next phase of its newly software-focused business.
The company told CNet in a statement Sunday night that, “The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business. We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future.”
It's too bad, because Nike+ products are some of the more stylish fitness trackers out there, making them prime candidates to win over fashion designers and editors to the concept of wearable technology overall. As a recent CFDA-sponsored roundtable proved, not all industry insiders are on board with the technology just yet.