Nike’s new FuelBand SE is smarter about tracking activity, reminds you to get moving

In its first big update since launching its activity tracker early last year, Nike is taking the wraps off its newest device, the FuelBand SE. On Tuesday, the company showed off its second-generation FuelBand, which not only comes in black with an array of colors on the inside band but includes a range of features meant to improve fitness tracking and encourage users to move more.

“Everything you know and love remains the same,” said Stefan Olander, Nike’s VP of digital sport, at a launch event in New York. “But thousands of activity hours went into refining [it], to make it smarter… to make sure you do get credit for deliberate movement and it filters out the activity that shouldn’t [get credit].”

The new device, which will retail for $149, is better able at separating actual exercise from movement meant to trick the device into registering more “Fuel” points, which is the company’s metric for representing users’ activity.

Stefan Olander Nike

At the event, Olander said the new device is also more water-resistant, provides hourly reminders to get users moving more and lets users tag their sessions so that they can better track their activity. For example, users who practice yoga can now get credit for the activity, even though their arms may not move.

When paired with the new Nike+ app, the FuelBand SE also lets users form groups (to compete or share accomplishments with friends or others training for the same event) and it expands the selection of “trophies” users can earn for achieving various milestones. Users of the current FuelBand might appreciate another convenient feature that enables users to see the time after tapping the band’s button twice.

On the heels of its new startup accelerator program with TechStars, the company also announced a new Nike+ Fuel Lab, which will be located in San Francisco and enable Nike to expand its ecosystem with more established companies interested in working with its data.

The new FuelBand comes amid growing competition in wearable technology. Just last week, Fitbit released its new Force wrist-based tracker and rivals Jawbone and Basis have also been building up their war chests. (We’ll be highlighting wearable technology and sensors at GigaOM’s upcoming Mobilize conference this week.)

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley, a FuelBand fan, also took the stage at Monday’s event. When asked where he imagines sensor technology will be in the next few years, he said, “Sensors have been collecting data for a while but it’s been take, take, date. Now, we’re going on to how do you actually push that data back to people? How do you give it back to people to change what they do during the day?”

The new FuelBand SE will be available beginning Nov. 6, but the company said a limited time pre-order begins today at