There's a new player in the digital fitness arena, with New Balance announcing the launch of its "Digital Sport" division. Expect to see smartwatches, embedded technology and performance sport products hit the market as of late 2016.
New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini highlighted the need for sportswear companies to keep up with the times, stating “Digital technology has truly revolutionised, 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.”
In addition to standard wearables, New Balance are working to incorporate smart technologies into its footwear and apparel, working in partnership with companies such as Intel, Google, Strava and Zepp.
“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,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
Focus will be split between three product categories: devices, (such as the smartwatch) embedded technology (intelligent sensors integrated into shoes and clothing), and performance sport (sports equipment micro-fob that senses, analyses and provides feedback on the athlete’s performance). New Balance will also be launching a "run club" starting in the US,and rolling out to Europe and Asia, possibly including Australia.
Designed "for runners by runners", the first product launched will be the Android Wear powered smartwatch. It will track runners’ routes via GPS and also enable them to run with music, all without carrying a smartphone.
There are no images, specs or pricing details on the smartwatch at this time.
Further products are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2018.