Late last year, Under Armour showed no signs of slowing down its ambitions to become a major health and fitness tech player, having already released the Under Armour Band, the HealthBox and the Gemini 2 RE. Just a year later, however, it's announced its out of the fitness tracker game.
The news comes as Under Armour experienced its first quarter sales decline, reports The Wall Street Journal. CEO Kevin Plank says the company was "a bit braggish" about past success, and that its problems are a result of troubles in its US market as well as complications from its tremendous growth in recent years.
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That reset includes no longer making fitness trackers and instead focusing on its software, which it can then put on other hardware, like Samsung Gear Sport, Apple Watch and more. The company will still sell its health band, scale and heart rate devices for the rest of the year - though a cursory glance at Under Armour's website shows that they'll be heavily discounted by up to 66%.
Under Armour's move out of fitness tracker hardware follows that of its compatriot, Nike, which famously cancelled its FuelBand tracker to focus on its software platform and partnerships, resulting in the Apple Watch Nike+ edition. Adidas has also taken a bigger look into software, going all in on Runtastic and partnering with Fitbit for the Ionic Adidas edition. Although Adidas is still in the wearable game with the Chameleon fitness tracker.
While, in the short term, Under Armour getting out of fitness trackers is a bit sad, this should be better long term for the company and for users. In our review of the UA Band, for instance, we pointed out how the software was the star of the show, while the hardware was pretty average. Focusing development resources on improving its software platform and making that better is good news for everyone in the long term.