Adidas, Nike and Under Armour have their digital divisions, while New Balance has only been playing with the idea in partnership with RunKeeper. That's about to change with the company announcing its own Digital Sport division to connect consumers with the technology to improve their athletic performance.
Right now, all we have is a press release, and we'll have for this holiday season to get New Balance's first digital product — an Android Wear smartwatch.
"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," Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance, said in a statement. "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."
Beyond the watch, the division will work on an athlete-focused ecosystem featuring New Balance-branded wearable technology products that "improve physical performance." In order to do so, New Balance will partner with the likes of Intel, Google, Strava and Zepp, to incorporate smart technologies into footwear and apparel lines across a variety of sports.
Digital Sport will initially focus on three product categories: devices; 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.
Following the smartwatch launch at Holiday 2016, New Balance will market other devices throughout 2017 and 2018. Along the way, we may see the company acquiring interesting startups like RunKeeper or perhaps some smart apparel tech maker such as OMsignal, Athos and Hexoskin. From what we can tell, the mobile-enabled fitness market is ready for consolidation…