Adidas has been eying the use of 3D printing technology in its sneakers for some time. Last Fall the footwear maker debuted a 3D printed concept shoe called Futurecraft 3D. The midsole was printed using a latticework technique that allowed the shoe to be firm when standing and cushiony when running. Furthermore, the midsole could be customized for your foot shape, pressure points, and impact pattern. Over a year later, Adidas is finally bringing to market its first 3D printed shoe. While Adidas hasn’t yet reached the customizable future it envisioned, the shoe is still exciting and marks an important first step for the company towards the future of footwear manufacturing. The new shoes, called 3D Runner, are available in a stunning, completely matte black design. The upper is crafted using the company’s 3D knitted Primeknit technology (also used on Ultra Boosts and Yeezys) while the midsole is completely 3D printed. The shoes look amazing, but don’t count on getting your hands on a pair.Continue reading
After years of false starts and stalled adoption, it was beginning to look like wearables were finally finding an audience. But the past week has brought nothing but sour news making one wonder if the connected devices are nothing but a fad. First Fitbit predicted a slow Holiday quarter, then Lenovo/Motorola announced the termination of the Moto 360, next Pebble shut down and sold off its assets for a pittance, and finally IDC released embarrassingly weak 3Q Apple Watch sales numbers. What is happening? Are wearables dead or is there more to it? While we might be a bit biased, we don’t see a reason for concern, yet. Let’s take a closer look at these headlines and the health of the industry as a whole.Continue reading
As rumored, Fitbit has officially finalized their buyout of Pebble. Though, using the term “buyout” or “purchase” seems a bit misleading. In fact, Pebble sent out an email today declaring that they were shutting down the company. The communication referred to Fitbit deciding to purchase “key assets.” Therefore, counter to the original rumor, Fitbit is not acquiring Pebble. Instead, Pebble closed shop today and Fitbit was first in line to buy any meaningful assets. While a small detail, this means that the financials at Pebble were likely far worst than predicted.
If we had to guess, similar to last summer, Pebble was desperate for more cash. Likely, they once again could not find the money through VC and this time were not able to get another bank loan. Their only option at that point would be to sell or close. Pretty much confirming that line of thinking, in an email from Pebble this morning it states that they “can no longer operate as an independent entity.” This is all pretty astounding for a company that turned down a purchase offer from Citizen for $740 million in early 2015 (not even 2 years ago). Recognizing the immediate need to sell, Pebble most likely could not find a purchaser willing to acquire all assets including debt, therefore the only sound business decision left was to shut down (business school 101: shutting down is always a viable option). Details are emerging on what assets Fitbit is purchasing and what Pebble’s closure means for customers and employees.Continue reading
With fitness trackers becoming more and more of a commodity item, it is no surprise that Fitbit would be looking to expand their business. The most logical space for the company to move towards is smartwatches, after all, a smartwatch is basically a souped up, more connected activity tracker. While the company has tested the market with two devices that straddle the line between a smartwatch and fitness tracker (the Surge and Blaze), they are too much of an in-between device. Despite costing as much as a smartwatch, they are both overly sporty looking and lack the level of connectivity needed to really function as a smartwatch. A smartwatch needs an intelligent and informative OS that has app-like functionality. Instead of venturing into the smartwatch world alone, it looks like Fitbit will acquire Pebble, producers of the Kickstarter funded e-paper smartwatches.Continue reading
If you weren’t lucky enough to win one of Nike’s functional reproductions of the self-lacing Mag sneaker from Back To The Future, don’t fret; something arguably more exciting is launching this week. Sure, the Mags were amazing from a retro-cool perspective, but on December 1st Nike is launching the first mass produced self-lacing sneaker. Named HyperAdapt 1.0, the sneakers represent the future of where the footwear giant believes their industry is headed.
While the easiest way to describe the HyperAdapt 1.0 is “self lacing,” Nike isn’t a big fan of the term and favors referring to the tech as “adaptive fit.” That likely comes from the fact that the HyperAdapt is a direct descendant of the Mag. When the Mag was original created for Back To The Future 2, the designers at Nike wanted to create a futuristic vision of a better athletic sneaker, something that would come alive and sense you, adjusting to the shape of your foot. In other words, adapt to you. After the release of Back To The Future 2, there was a huge outpouring by fans for Nike to create an actual Mag and bring it to market. As the years passed, the requests kept coming in and at a certain point teams within Nike started to brainstorm whether such technology could actually be created and designed to fit within a shoe. After nearly three decades of discussions and 11 years of R&D, the HyperAdapt 1.0 became a reality. The shoes are truly the Nike Mag reimagined for today.Continue reading
A few weeks ago Snapchat announced that the company was going to transition from simply being an app/service to a technology company. The first part of the transition was rebranding the company as Snap and the second part was the introduction a new piece of wearable tech. The company’s first foray into the wearable space is a pair of glasses, simply called Spectacles. Think of them as something in between Google Glass and a life-blogging device, neither of which have faired very well in the market place. The failure of both of those devices likely has something to do with them being wearable recorders, which they also have in common with Spectacles. When we originally saw the announcement of Snapchat’s Spectacles, to us they seemed more like a gag product than something people would actually wait in line to spend $130 on. But apparently we were very wrong. Last week popup vending machines featuring the Spectacles, called Snapbots, began appearing, drawing tremendous lines. We never would have guessed it but Snap’s Spectacles seem to be a hit, for at least the 6 days out from launch. In fact, the connected glasses are reselling for as much as $5000 on eBay. But what exactly are they?Continue reading
Over the past week, Fitbit’s (FIT) stock has lost over 30% of it’s value. The plunge happened at the end of last week after the fitness tracker company missed earnings estimates and tempered expectations for the Holidays. In the days since, shares of Fitbit have been unable to bounce back. While only missing estimated revenue by $3 Million, year-over-year income fell by almost 43%. This is despite introducing new models and aligning with both Kohl’s and Vera Wang. Even worse, for the vital Holiday quarter Fitbit is projecting revenue of $725 Million to $750 Million versus expectations of $925 Million. So what exactly is happening with Fitbit and what does this mean for the larger wearable market?Continue reading