Under Armour is the latest sports company to jump on the wearable kit bandwagon. With more sports bracelets and watches hitting the shelves than ever before and fitness apps filling mobiles, Under Armour is buying MapMyFitness for a healthy $150 million.
While you might think, "Meh, another clothes company buying tech" - this is special. Under Armour has been throwing money at wearable tech for years now, using it on a professional level but never releasing anything amazing to the public. For that reason we suspect the sports apparel giant could have something impressive due out soon.
You may remember the E39 smart biometric top with built-in sensors that professional athletes started testing. This amazing shirt measured heart rate, anaerobic threshold, aerobic capacity, muscle heat, GPS positioning and more. So detailed were the readouts, Under Armour didn’t think the public would need it. But now we see the huge uptake of gadgets and apps that feedback our workout data, perhaps Under Armour is planning to bring this tech to market.
Buying MapMyFitness means Under Armour is now in charge of one of the biggest social sports communities on mobile devices. “Athlete biometric measurement is a new business we’re just getting behind,” says Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO.
At the moment Under Armour has built a chest strap called the Armour39 that can monitor heart rate, calories burned and other details. The device, which costs $150 (£93), works with either a smartphone app or specialised watch.
To compete with the Nike+ FuelBand SE, Jawbone, or Withings Pulse (all Pocket-lint Award nominations this year), Under Armour will have to produce an impressive wearable sensor. We’re waiting with plenty of excitement.