New Balance, known best for their line of shoes and athletic apparel, announced today a new initiative that will see the company push into new territory. A newly formed Digital Sport division will head up a new focus on digital experiences and wearables for athletes. The highlight is a plan to launch New Balance’s first smartwatch, one tailored for activity tracking and powered by Android Wear.
New Balance is partnering with Google among other including Intel and Strava develop the technology side of their digital offerings, exploring ways to not only optimize wearables for athletes, but also include fitness tracking technology in their line of shoes and clothing. As for smartwatch plans, little has been disclosed at this time other than the inclusion of Android Wear and a targeted release date of the 2016 holiday season.
It’s hard to imagine New Balance will produce a smartwatch that will appeal to the masses, but the company does have the expertise it needs to create an Android Wear device that could truly win over the athletic segment. With its name brand and the backing of Google, we will be interested to see where the new Digital Sport initiative takes New Balance in the future.