Nike Lunar TR1+: Example of Why iPhone is Primary, Android is Backup

The fact that my new Nike sneakers work with my iPhone, but not my Android devices is the latest example of why the iPhone is still my primary mobile device. I like a lot of things about my Android devices, especially my unlocked Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 with Jelly Bean, but waiting around for apps to connect to products and services is getting old.

Android’s come a long way over the past couple of years, but it still lags behind the iPhone in one very important way: App Availability. There’s no question that Android bests iOS in a number of ways, but developers go where the money is. Developers repeatedly tell us that their iOS apps make far more than Android apps, with some developers painting Android users as cheap. It’s also easier for Android users to bootleg apps and games, forcing at least one developer to turn a popular paid iOS game into a free one on the Play Store due to piracy. The result is that brands big and small put Apple customers first. Companies tend to like customers that will actually pay for stuff.

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My Size 13 Nike Lunar TR1+ Shoes Only Work with my iPhone 4S

A lot of the apps that matter to me seem to launch on the iOS platform first, coupled with an asterisk and a note that an Android version is ‘coming soon.’ Android users end up getting treated like second-class citizens.

Nike’s Lunar TR1+ training shoes have wireless sensors baked into their soles that communicate information back to a training app that logs speed, height and intensity. The app has interactive workouts, starring famous athletes like Manny Pacquiao and Allyson Felix. The app and the shoes aren’t going to turn me into an olympic athlete, but they will help get me into reasonable share as part of my workout plan.

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Here is a video overview of the Nile+ Training App. It’s pretty slick and built specifically for the iPhone 4S. Older iPhones require an included Nike+ adapter, which isn’t a very elegant solution. My guess is that Android fragmentation is just one of the reasons why Nike couldn’t or wouldn’t launch an equivalent Android app alongside the iPhone version.

Today it doesn’t matter that my Verizon Galaxy Nexus has 4G LTE and my unlocked Nexus has Jelly Bean. It doesn’t matter that they have bigger displays and better integration with Google services. As I get ready to go for my afternoon workout there’s only one phone that works with my Nikes and that’s my iPhone 4S. Guess which one I’m going to carry today?

I bought my HTC Thunderbolt about 16 months ago to see what all the fuss about Android was first hand and to see if a Google-powered device could get me to give up my iPhone. Since then I’ve upgraded to the Droid Bionic, then the Galaxy Nexus and tried several others. The unlocked Nexus with Jelly Bean is my favorite Android device so far, but I still can’t leave home without my iPhone. That may change in the future, but not until an Android phone can work with the stuff that matters to me.

Comments

  1. Dan says

    It matters to me that my Verizon Galaxy Nexus has 4G LTE when I want to watch Netflix without needing wifi. It matters that it has a big display- it’s so much easier for me to get around the 4.65 screen than a tiny 3.5 screen.

    I access email, Google Reader, Facebook and many other things on the mobile web rather than the app, it’s faster to me. The Facebook mobile site is so much better than the Facebook app. Most people use just a few apps on their phones, and apps that matter- the proven, non-fart apps, are on Android. Athletes who are not into Apple/Nike can get a Garmin.

    More and more people are getting Androids, than other kinds of phones. People have alot of choices with Android, rather than being dictated on what they should have.

  2. Jake says

    Next time i decide to pay more for horrible running shoes and then decide that I am going to base the next 2 years of cell phone use on the fact that i own a terrible running shoe that can communicate with my phone, I’ll consult this article.

    Although, i must say one useful thing about the iPhone i found frustrating with Android is the connectivity to car stereos. There is a whole lot of support for the iPhone and limited for Android.

    However, i just bought a stereo cable and abandoned the blue tooth.

    My favorite part about this article is that the fault these companies attribute to their horrible products is that Android people are “cheap”. As if we haven’t over paid for the shoes and Nike isn’t making billions off providing us with sub par products, so the need to make another $2 for their app. That notion is preposterous. Make an ad supported app and if it doesn’t suck consumers will buy the paid version. Spare me your tears corporations and don’t blame me the consumer for not getting you your Ferrari. Not a single private developer is complaining about Androids open developer platform.

  3. jayray78 says

    Let’s get one thing straight. Yes, developers like people who pay for apps. However, developers really like people who are willing to over pay for things….like iPhones.

  4. Stephen says

    The app mentioned above is a generic running app and not the one released to be compatible with the Nike + shoes that give much greater feedback and versatility. Either way, the purpose of including the Nike Lunar TR1+ is in the title. it was an EXAMPLE, to show how big companies who no undoubtedly could afford to make an android compatible app have chosen to opt for IOS development over android, potentially because of the increased piracy on Android.

    Personally, I think that this is not the best example as created a pirated version of this app would be largely useless as you would need to have bought the shoes anyway, but the argument is still valid in showing a preference for IOS over Android for a good proportion of developers.

  5. anwar says

    Your opinion is all preference based, has nothing to do with the actual device and o.s, whether developers choose to push an app to a particular o.s first has no valid standing argument as its just a release date your complaining about.. android has more features, options, power, and personal preferences than ios has currently and previously..

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