Nike has an uncanny ability to produce things that people think they need really, really bad. Por ejemplo: sneakers that cause riots, t-shirts never released to the public, and now the Nike+ FuelBand. The FuelBand is a rubber bracelet that uses accelerometers and computer chips to keep track of your calories burned and steps taken during each day and converts them into Nike Fuel - a unit of measure of your physical activity.
By now you've figured out that the FuelBand is what's on my wrist (above). I've been wearing it for a few days now and I'm not entirely sure how accurate it is. Because you wear it on your arm, I don't believe it's a great tool to track activities like biking where your wrist remains relatively stationary. What it has done for me however, is given me real insight into exactly how much I do (or don't) move around during the day. The best way to get all of the data is to wear it properly when you're walking or doing running activities and to clip it to your shoe or ankle when biking or skateboarding.
Of course the FuelBand was initially a limited release - Nike is king of building demand for a product. The introduction of the Nike+ tool was accompanied by a bold 'Make it Count' marketing campaign in the NYC subway system as well as in all of Nike's stores here in New York. Now, the band is available on Nike.com (for US and UK only) but I don't think it is available in all stores nationwide yet. You can see the elaborate display (above) which was taken in Nike Town NYC on 5th Avenue. That was only a fraction of the floor space dedicated to the FuelBand.
The band itself is comfortable and feels fine to wear for prolonged periods of time. The fact that it is lit by colored LEDs from behind the rubber gives it a futuristic feel and makes you the envy of your friends the first time you casually press the function button next to them. Hell yea, son! The band has 4 display options: Nike Fuel, Calories, Steps and Time. In all honesty, for the retail price of $149, the band makes a great wrist watch even if you don't care about counting your calories.
If you choose to go all out and use it as intended, the FuelBand becomes a very useful tool to determine your relative everyday movement and activity levels. It syncs with your computer via USB on Nikeplus.com and also with your iPhone via Bluetooth to give you some great analytics (seen below) on your weekly, monthly and yearly activity levels, when during the day you seem to be most active, and it gives you a pat on the back when you've met the goals you set for yourself.
Is it necessary? Definitely not. Is it useful? It can be. Is it so cool that you need to have one and Nike has brainwashed you so you'll be running to the store to get one? For sure. You can grab the Nike+ FuelBand in size S, M and L (if you're unsure of your size they have a printable measuring ruler) online at Nike.com for $149.