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Watch out, Nike: Adidas announces smartwatch for runners, starting at $399

Adidas' GPS-equipped smartwatch
Adidas' GPS-equipped smartwatch, unveiled in San Francisco on Wednesday.GeekWire

SAN FRANCISCO (GeekWire) – Another big shoe brand just joined Nike in the wearable technology race: Adidas.

At Wednesday's GigaOM Mobilize conference in San Francisco, Paul Gaudio, the vice president in charge of Adidas’ interactive division, announced that the company is throwing its hat in the smartwatch ring with a new piece of hardware directed at runners’ wrists.

In addition to a GPS connection to track an athlete’s activity, the Adidas watch boasts Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a heart rate sensor that will track an athlete’s performance, and provide feedback and heart rate training guidance either through the watch’s screen and vibration, or over Bluetooth headphones.

Paul Gaudio, VP of Adidas' interactive division
Paul Gaudio, VP of Adidas' interactive divisionGeekWire

Unlike other smartwatches on the market, Adidas’ watch doesn’t rely on having a phone present in order to function, and doesn’t include some of the phone capabilities that appear to be the industry standard in the smartwatch market like forwarding notifications. Since you won’t have your phone’s music library to pull from, the watch will have onboard flash storage for music, which you can then listen to through Bluetooth headphones.

Compared to the overall smartwatch market, Adidas’ offering seems underwhelming. But Gaudio said that Adidas isn’t interested in competing with all smartwatches.

“We’re not trying to make the best smartwatch, we’re trying to make the best running watch,” he said.

Even so, it may be a hard sell for consumers. The watch is slated to cost $399, almost $250 more than Nike’s new FuelBand SE. While Adidas’ watch offers a bunch of functionality Nike doesn’t, that may not be enough to justify the higher pricetag.

The watch is slated to launch on Nov. 1. Gaudio didn’t say where the watch would be available.

Previously on GeekWire: Nike’s new Fuelband SE adds new colors, sleep tracking

Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.

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