Nike+ moves from app to platform with four new device partners

After going it alone with health tracking hardware, Nike is expanding relationships to use its Nike+ app with non-Nike devices. The company announced four new hardware partners on Friday — Garmin, Tom Tom, Wahoo Fitness and Netpulse — with a new “Partners” app feature to connect the Nike+ app with third-party devices.

The updated Nike+ Running App makes pairing with the new partners easy. Users will see a “Partners” screen when they update or download the app. The “Connect a Partner” button guides users to settings to manage preferences and establish the seamless connection between Nike+ and the partner apps and devices.

The idea here is to expand the use of Nike+ and give the app’s users more freedom to choose a wearable device or software platform. That’s a sharp change from Nike’s several-year approach of exercise tracking with devices ranging from footpod step-trackers and, more recently, its FuelBand wearable band.

Change has been in the wind for some time, however, as [company]Nike[/company] first kept its software limited to [company]Apple[/company] iOS devices for several years and recently releasing a Nike+ app for Android. And roughly a year ago there were reports of Nike abandoning its own hardware efforts and laying off much of the Fuelband team. As a long-time runner, I welcome the change from app to platform; it’s long overdue.