New Balance is now a gadget company. The athletics giant has created a Digital Sport division that will focus on devices, embedded technology (e.g. sensors in New Balance shoes and apparel), and performance sport (e.g. sensors in sports equipment).
Its first product? An Android Wear-powered smartwatch that will "track runners' routes via GPS and also enable them to run with music" without the need to bring along a smartphone. Unfortunately that's about all we know at the moment. New Balance's smartwatch launches this holiday season.
The partnership makes a lot of sense for both New Balance and Intel. Wearables have been a big part of Intel's strategy since it acquired early smartwatch pioneer Basis in 2014. A big part of that has been Intel Curie, a low-power hardware module that the company developed to be used in everything from rings and bags to glasses. Curie was officially announced last year at CES, and as part of today's presentation attendees were given special glowing wristbands with Curie built into them. The bands could detect motion, and light up accordingly, and even used during the keynote pre-show by performers on stage who used them to control virtual instruments. (It was appropriately insane for CES, but the underlying technology is certainly cool.)