It has been more than six months I am using Nike+ Sportwatch GPS. Actually, it is a great device, a great replacement for my two-and-half-years-old broken Nike+ SportBand. It works with my Polar Wearlink, so I get full tracking with all sensors: GPS, shoe pod, and heart rate monitor. I am happy with it.
I will not review this Sportwatch. There are so many reviews about Sportwatch in the internet since this product has been launched in April 2011. Review from DC Rainmaker is nice to read.
Then, how Nike should do to make a better one?
So, even Nike+ Sportwatch still the top notch Nike+ device for runners, but Nike+ Fuelband steal the show. There are two key points that Fuelband win over Sportwatch: mobile sync and non-running daily use. Then, the next Nike+ device should also adopt those points.
Put in bluetooth for wireless synchronizing. So, runners will not need to plug the device into USB port just to upload or sync the workout. And, also can upload the workout through iPhones or Android phones. Need no PC anymore. You can upload your race-result seconds after you crossed the finish line. Oh, we can use Nike+ Running on our phones, right? But it only use GPS and "internal accelerometer". No shoe pod, and also, no heart rate monitoring. That is why I chose SportWatch.
I know that Nike actually do not put "tap sensitive screen" on Sportwatch. It is accelerometer that sense the "shock". So, why did not put the "real" (three-axis) accelerometer inside the Sportwatch and use it for tracking. It should help for more accurate tracking.
I still want GPS after running in the tunnel. I use all three sensors for my run: shoe pod, GPS, and Polar heartrate monitor. Everything is good. Until I ran my half-marathon in Standard-Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012, the route includes underground tunnel before we got out from the Sentosa Island.
I know that GPS could not make it when underground. The \"satellite\" icon was blinking indicate for GPS signal searching. But the tunnel was to long. About 1 km, perhaps. So, the Sportwatch disables GPS after few minutes of GPS absence. The icon was already gone when I came into the surface with the blue sky. And yes, the GPS was disabled for the rest ot race, until the finish line. There was nothing I could do to re-activate the GPS, unless I \"ended\" the tracking and start a new one. Could Nike simply put "reactivate GPS" menu?
NikeFuel please! We already know that NikeFuel is the currency in Nike+ ecosystem now. Yes, I also know that Sportwatch also count for NikeFuel. But, it never show me the NikeFuel. I had to plug it into the computer and upload the running log, then the Nike+ site will show me how much NikeFuel I earn from my run.
Do Nike never consider cycling? The nearest sport after running is cycling and swimming. Just like the triangle of triathlon. Okay, the swimming part is not easy since Nike had to make a real waterproof (or even IP57 milspec) device and GPS is not good under the water. But, since I have GPS and heartrate monitor, I should can track when I worked out on the bike. Actually, I can do this now. But, it will counted as "running". I would be considered as "cheater" in Nike+ community leaderboard. And, I do not want to "interference" my running statistics.
I just can use my iPhone and other apps just like Endomondo to track my cycling. But, I will lost my NikeFuel. And the important thing: No Nike, Nike lose. So, just update the firmware (or on the web) to enable this.
Back to the water. I think it is good if the next generation of Nike+ Sportwatch had a milspec waterproof feature.
Some people just love their Sportwatch. Yes, in daily basis as "basic" watch. But, wearing both Sportwatch and Fuelband in single hand is not cool. Wearing Sportwatch on the left and Fuelband on the right is also uncool. I know this is \"almost impossible in marketing strategy\". But, if I could just use one wristband for running (Sportwatch) and daily use (Fuelband), I would love it. Even if it has more expensive price tag.
The list would be longer if we also take a benchmark with the current and upcoming "smartwatch".
Should Nike make the new generation of Sportwatch?
Some features could be implemented with current hardware: NikeFuel, GPS after the tunnel, and cycling support. These are possible with a firmware update. But, some such as bluetooth, daily activity tracking, and milspec requires new hardware.
Want to make a even far better smart sportwatch? Nike should call their friends at TomTom and drive together to visit the old friend in Cupertino. Then, make the great Nike+ iWatch.
So Nike, please take consider these. Because Nike+ was the one that kicked my ass off-couch into the finish line.