Nike FuelBand rumoured to be axed after job cuts

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Nike has moved to counter speculation it's pulling the plug on its FuelBand wearable fitness tracker product, following reports of lay-offs within its hardware team.

The sportswear giant has reportedly axed 55 of the 70 people responsible for the development of its FuelBand wearable tech product, casting a shadow over its future.

The product allows users to track how many steps they've taken over the course of a day, as well as their overall levels of activity, and feeds this data to an associated smartphone app for analysis purposes.

According to a report on CNET, the company had been working on the release of a slimmer version of the Fuelband, which was pencilled in for an autumn release.

This project has been shelved, along with a number of other future product releases under the firm's Digital Sports brand, a source told the publication.

Instead, the firm plans to focus its efforts on the development of its fitness-focused software offerings.

The company has since hit back at speculation this will lead to its second generation FuelBand SE product being withdrawn from sale.

"The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business. We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colours, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future," the company said in a statement.

Even so, the news could lead to a dampening of the hype surrounding wearable tech, which various market watchers have touted as the next big thing in tech.

Samsung has already made moves in this area, while Apple is widely tipped to enter the market with its much-hyped iWatch in due course.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.