At CES 2016 this week, New Balance revealed that they have launched a new, tech-focused “Digital Sport” division that will be developing, among other things, a smartwatch for release during the 2016 holiday season. More than just a smartwatch, New Balance is aiming to create an entire wearable ecosystem that will help athletes get better feedback about their workout without having to bring their phones along. Ideally, runners will be able to listen to music, track their route via GPS, and get active information about their vitals while they’re on the go.
Although we don’t have many specifics on this new smartwatch yet, New Balance is bringing aboard a slew of hardware and software companies in an attempt to make it shine. Intel, Google, Strava, and Zepp are all reportedly involved in this smartwatch’s development as well as the ecosystem it will integrate with. The device will be powered by Android Wear, and is being designed to work with other wearable tech such as sensors embedded in footwear, micro-fobs that track athletic performance, and – eventually – a social media network targeting runners.
The New Balance Run Club is in the works, and subscribers will be able to track and share their workouts with other members as well as physically meet up with each other for group training, classes, and local running events centered around brick-and-mortar New Balance locations. The company says we’ll be seeing the first of these clubs launch in Boulder, CO later this year.
We’re interested to see what the athletic footwear company brings to the table with this year’s wearable tech. So far, no particular sport-centric smartwatch has really made enough of an impression to woo the running community into widespread adoption, so this niche might be one that New Balance is posed to fill.
What do you think about this athletic ecosystem of wearable devices? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out the rest of our CES 2016 coverage by clicking the button below!