Polar tears down the Nike+ dongle hegemony

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Nike and Polar (the heart rate monitor people) have just introduced the Polar WearLink+ that connects your Polar gear to the Nike+ iPod pedometer. The heartrate band sends data to the same program that controls the distance and speed data sent from the Nike+ footpod.

Obviously Polar makes all sorts of running and walking gear already, but this device breaks out of the Polar ecosystem and connects solely with Nike+ products. It will be available late June for $69.99.

Polar and Nike Introduce Heart Rate Training to Millions of Nike+ Runners

BEAVERTON, Ore., June 7 /PRNewswire/ — Nike, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and Polar, the market leader and pioneer in heart rate training technology, have introduced the Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+. This new product works with the Nike+ SportBand and the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit, enabling users to run and train with heart rate monitoring for the first time.
This exciting new piece of equipment is worn comfortably around the chest and transmits the user’s heart rate wirelessly to their Nike+ iPod Sport Kit or SportBand. It will improve the training experience of Nike+ users helping them to understand how hard they are working in any given run. Users can see their beats per minute while they run with their Nike+ SportBand, or hear spoken feedback of their BPM during their Nike+ iPod workout. And after training, heart rate data can be transferred to the nikeplus.com web service. Users can track how long they ran in their target heart rate zone and see their heart rate progress over time.
The new Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+, is also compatible with most Polar training computers (all those using 5 kHz transmission technology). This allows use of both the Nike+ system and a Polar training computer at the same time. The Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+, is also compatible with the fifth generation iPod nano and the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit.
The soft textile chest strap seamlessly adapts to the user’s body shape, bringing full freedom of movement to the training session. The comfortable textile strap is also machine-washable and with its hook mechanism, the transmitter is just as quick to put on as it is to take off. A user replaceable battery also increases the ease-of-use.
In addition, the Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+, works with Polar-compatible fitness equipment, including models from all major fitness equipment manufacturers. This enables users wearing the WearLink+ transmitter to see their heart rate on the compatible fitness club equipment as well. The coded transmission ensures that Nike+ devices and Polar training computers pick up the right heart rate signal and not someone else’s.
“We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Nike,” says Marco Suvilaakso, Group Product Director at Polar. “Polar and Nike are both market leading global sports brands. Nike users around the globe can now benefit for the first time from pioneering Polar heart rate monitoring technology. The new WearLink®+ transmitter Nike+ will make accurate heart rate training available to millions of Nike+ users. It will add a new dimension to their training enabling them to train at the right intensity to achieve their goals. We anticipate this will be a very popular product.”
“We are excited to introduce Polar heart rate technology into the Nike+ system so millions of enthusiastic users can take their training and performance to the next level,” said Jeff Padovan, president of Polar USA. “Being able to partner with industry leaders like Nike and Apple who share our passion for sports and technology allows us to deliver what the consumer has asked for by providing the best each company has to offer all in one product.”
The Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+, will be available from June 2010 in the United States, followed by Canada and major EU countries from the beginning of July. On sale through authorized Polar retailers, Nike-owned retail stores and through the Apple Store (www.apple.com), the Polar WearLink®+ that works with Nike+, is sold as a Polar accessory set with a user manual. Compatible Polar training computers can be purchased separately.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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