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Monday May 6, 2013 2:53 pm

Exclusive details on the next Nike+ FuelBand

Next Nike+ FuelBand features

Nike is hard at work on the next iteration of its popular Nike+ FuelBand, and we've got the details on what to expect, thanks to getting to spend a few short minutes with the device during a recent business trip. From the look and sound of things, aside from a handful of new features and tracking metrics, Nike is also set to make the Nike+ API a bit more robust as well, allowing developers to tap into your tracking data. Now let's talk about the changes and improvements:

The original Nike+ FuelBand

First, a heart rate monitor will be built-in to the upcoming FuelBand. You scroll through your options to get to the heart rate monitor, and then pinch the FuelBand on the monitor area, and it will take your pulse. We weren't able to confirm if it would save the results to your Nike+ profile for tracking purposes, or if it was just something to give you information when you used it.

The next FuelBand will sport a display that responds to button presses much faster. Basically, the speed of the LEDs has been increased, making the device more responsive and faster to use.

The device will use Bluetooth 4.0, which means the battery lasts longer, and it will auto-sync without you having to manually perform the action (although, the option is still there for those who prefer it.)

One of the more interesting features is that the accelerometer data will be part of the API. Basically, developers will have access to the realtime accelerometer data, which can be integrated into apps. This doesn't just have to be about fitness, either. Imagine playing a driving game while wearing the FuelBand, and turning an imaginary steering wheel in mid-air while the game captures that data and applies it.

A FuelBand Android app is, indeed, on the way (despite Nike saying it wasn't just three months ago.)

Lastly, the new FuelBand allows you to check the battery life of the FuelBand directly on the device itself.

No word on if any of the software features (faster LED, battery life, streaming accelerometer data, etc.) will come to current FuelBands in a software update. We also don't know if the features we were able to check out above are all that we can expect--there may be features that we didn't find out about. We also have no solid data on when the new model will be announced, but it is definitely on the way. In fact, it's already being tested in the wild--and there's even a small chance you may have seen one without knowing it. Similar to how when Apple's iPhone 4 was discovered in a bar, sporting a casing that made it look like the then-current iPhone 3GS, the new that is being tested is currently made to look exactly like the current model. This way, it can be worn publicly by testers without anyone realizing that there's anything special about it.

The jury is still out on whether these fitness gadgets actually make us healthier, but we must say, we're excited about the changes in the next FuelBand.

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