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Wearable computer fitness bands not officially available in UAE

Next wave of technology faces hurdles in emirates

Gulf News

Dubai: Health and fitness enthusiasts in the UAE need to wait longer as the next wave of technology is facing hurdles even as the country is technologically advanced.

Nike + Fuelband, which was launched last year, is not officially available in the UAE. There are many similar brands like Fitbit Flex and JawBone UP. None of them are available but only through the grey market. The wristband is to be worn day and night to keep track and users can set their personal goals. It tracks your everyday activities like calories burned, steps taken, etc.

It works on Bluetooth pairing with smartphones.

“The device is facing shortage in the US itself and we are not sure why it is taking time for firms like Nike to launch it in the UAE,” Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Electronics, told Gulf News.

Ashsih paid $150 for the Nike band in the US and said that it is very useful.

According to Cynthia, a Nike sales staff at Sun & Sand Sports, Deira City Centre, the device can only be ordered online and the company has been in talks with Nike Netherlands regarding this.“Even though the device was launched last year, many customers have enquired about this in the UAE. We were supposed to get it last year,” she said.

Android fans need to wait more longer as Nike band works only on Apple’s operating system but the Fitbit band works on both operating systems. The data can be synced via an app.

Customers can either order online or many online sites like Groupon are offering the Nike band in the UAE from Dh899 to Dh1,300.

Nike + Fuelband is sold on Amazon from $169 to $300 while JawBone UP is sold for $129 and Fitbit One for $92.

“These wearable devices will take time to be officially launched in the UAE. First of all, there is supply shortage and most of the people using it in the UAE are bringing it from the US,” said Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax.

Fitness enthusiasts will be able to monitor these features by end of the month with the launch of Samsung Galaxy S4. The S-Health app on the device covers exercise, heart-rate monitor, diet, sleep and other well-being metrics.