Nike+ on Android

On Friday June 22 Nike released the long awaited Nike+ Android app. I like many other non-apple users have been waiting patiently for this app to come out. I have to admit that due to the hype about making an Android supported app I was very surprised that there was not more talk about this app’s release.

I was recently considering giving in and getting a fuelband or one of the sport watches because there are many sites out there that work like but none have the graphics and user engagement like this quite like Nike’s. I tried out Runkeeper but the user interface just is no where near as nice as that of Nike+ and I have been on Dailymile for a few months now and I’m really liking their site, but I’m thinking about dropping one of these site for Nike.
App Functionality
When I first opened the app this was after the first update since its release so most of the reviews that are found in the Google Play Store are not relevant any more. The app is very easy to navigate but it does take a little getting used to. Upon first opening the app after downloading it will prompt you to sign in with either Facebook for Nike+. I suggest going to the Nike+ site and signing up before downloading the app it will make things easier and takes less time to set up especially when working with those tiny phone screens and keyboards. I have not tried to connect with my Facebook, I did, though. try to connect with Twitter but that did not work so well. There has since been another Twitter is connected to my Nike+ account.

What they do not tell you anywhere in the app or online is that when you are using the app and you shut the screen off on your phone the app keeps running but will only keep track of how long you have been running the app not how far you have gone. When you are out on a run make sure that you lock the app by sliding the lock at the bottom of the screen so that the background changes from red to black then if should keep track of your distance while conserving battery life. But you are still not able to turn off the screen and keep the app tracking distance, hopefully this will happen in a future update.

Ending the run I found the most complicated part. There is no end run button and when you are on the “run” screen you are not able to access any other part of the app. What I have discovered is if you tap somewhere on the bottom right of the screen then the lock slider changes to an end run slider. This must be made more obvious the new user.
Look and Feel
The app just feels natural. When in the middle of a run and you want to know your current stats all you have to do is double tap the screen and an automated voice will read off your time, distance and stride without having to look at the screen. There is also the option to schedule when the app will tell you what is on the screen, the preset is every mile.

The most confusing part of the run screen I have found is that to pause the run you tap the “pause run” bar at the bottom of the screen. My instinct is to slide the lock across the screen to pause because of how so many other apps have their pause buttons set up. The lock there just locks the screen does not pause the run. Keep in mind that when the run is pause you cannot lock the screen because the lock slider turns into an end run slider.

The best part I have found is that when you create a goal on the Nike+ site the goal will appear at the bottom of the screen in the app. A little green line will indicate how much progress you have made towards your goal what the goal is and how long you have to complete it.
The app as you complete tasks such as running a certain distance, running a distance in a certain amount of time, will challenge you to beat your time. When you want to start a run it will present you with the last time you did this run and ask if you want to try and beat it. I find this to be a very motivating feature, not only does it push you to get out there but also to do better, go farther, run longer. As an added bonus they give you little metals for completing these goals and as you go farther then the challenges get harder.

While there are minor tweeks here and there that will need to be made by Nike to get this app running more smoothly, as a first release I am very pleased with it. One thing that bothers me a little is that this app does not play well with others. I was on a long run and saw this amazing view so I stopped to take a picture and then Nike+ crashed. There were complaints about the app draining a lot of battery and crashing on long runs, the farthest I have taken it is up to 4 miles and it was fine. There are still a few issues with the GPS, at least on my Atrix 4G the maps feature in the app is not working. Although after this last update they said it should, I’ll send them another support ticket to let them know its not there yet.
Recently Nike+ on my Android running Gingerbread was having problems and I thought that uninstalling and reinstall would have fixed the bugs, but alas Nike updated the app so it is no longer available for systems bellow Ice Cream Sandwich.

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