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Nike talks iPhone, running and its connected devices

Nike was at CES last week to premiere its new Nike+ SportWatch GPS, a sports watch hooked up to GPS via TomTom-based technology, designed to work with the popular Nike+ system. While the idea of the watch is cool (it will track all of your runs, even if not hooked up to the GPS system right away), the interface is nowhere near as a nice as any given Apple product. It would have been better to bring the same functionality to an iPod nano app that you could then strap on to your wrist.

We did get to chat with Nike about its iPhone app, Nike+ GPS, which is consistently seen at number one in the Health and Fitness category on the App Store and has earned over a half million downloads around the world. Nike says it plans to continue supporting the app, and a recently released version added some interesting social functionality called "Cheer Me On," allowing Facebook friends to send you motivational messages during a run, and last week the app got versions for non-English speakers. Nike says its goal with the app is motivation -- Nike+ started because it discovered that "music is motivating to athletes," and it's since learned that having feedback on your location while running is motivating as well.

As for what's next with the app, Nike was tight-lipped, only saying "we've nailed it with what we have." Over the five years since it's been live, Nike+ has picked up 4 million members, and users have run 320 million miles so far. It looks like Nike's plan to motivate users is working.

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