Though wearable technology is getting better looking, it’s not necessarily improving where it counts, particularly in the fitness sector. Nike’s just-announced layoffs in its FuelBand department is the third sign of trouble.
In February, FitBit recalled its Force device, which gave customers rashes. Another malfunctioning wristband included the Up, from Jawbone, which the company allowed buyers to return. Now Nike, besides its layoffs, might not produce any future versions of the FuelBand (not even the rose gold option!). Maybe Apple will have more luck, if and when it launches an iWatch.
However, beyond the technical problems and the fact that consumers can get a lot of the same benefit of wearable trackers from their smartphones, is the trouble with consistency. Half of the techie wristband owners ultimately quit the devices, and a third stop wearing them after six months, which might be some insight into why Nike is considering halting production of upgraded FuelBands. At this rate, to get consumers to commit, it might take a more fashionable option to inspire broad enough enthusiasm for sustainable wearable tech.