Android Wear 2.0: New Balance targets fitness fans with RunIQ smartwatch

| Feb 05, 2017 09:02 PM EST

New Balance’s RunIQ smartwatch is an Android Wear 2.0 wrist wearable that targets fitness buffs.

New Balance is launching its first Android Wear smartwatch named RunIQ, which has a target market of fitness buffs. This wrist wearable was unveiled as a market-ready product at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The eminent century-old American footwear company teamed up with Intel and Google to build the smart watch's hardware and software.

New Balance first introduced the RunIQ at CES 2016. It also worked with Strava to add the run-tracking tech of its mobile app to the new smartwatch.

The tagline of the fresh wearable is "made by runners for runners." New Balance has tried to add all the main features a runner would need in a wearable. That includes built-in GPS and a heart-rate sensor, as well as distance, pace, and course tracking, according to Tech Times.

RunIQ also includes an Intel Atom Z34XX processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a water-resistant body. The design is like a regular smartwatch. This makes the device useful for gym workouts and everyday life.

The smartwatch includes a 410 mAh battery that lasts 24 hours with regular use. When GPS is switched on the battery lasts 5 hours on a single charge.

Another key feature of the Android smartwatch is three physical buttons. They include one for launching the RunIQ app, functioning as the home button, and controlling laps or music.

The New Balance wearable is shipped with Google's Android Wear 1.5. Since it was developed with the Alphabet company's help it is likely the smartwatch will soon get upgraded to Android Wear 2.0.  

RunIQ has a retail price of $299. It is available at the official New Balance website and Amazon.

The RunIQ could challenge the Apple Watch Nike+ due to their designs, specs, and prices being very similar. New Balance's Android smartwatch is $70 less than Apple Watch at $369 (38mm).

One main benefit of the shoe company's fitness-focused device is it works with the Strava app. This makes the process of reaching fitness goals a more social experience since workout results can be shared online, according to The Verge.

The footwear giant's smartwatch also works with several handsets including Apple's iPhone. While the Apple Watch only functions with the company's smartphones including the iPhone 7, it has more fashion options since the RunIQ is only available in one color.   

New Balance was founded in 1906. It is headquartered in the city of Boston and was launched as an "arch support" company.

Here's a New Balance RunIQ hands-on:

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