i was actually thinking this same exact thing the other day. very frustrating.
Not the first company to do it, and business wise a smart move.
Yes. That is exactly what they're doing. They did it with the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch. It's not surprising. But they also do it so they can work out problems with their web product that goes along with the Fuelband before they completely let the floodgates open. They're not too good at building stable websites.
i wouldn't be surprised if they are keeping the manufacturing of the device low. with the response the UP band got and then all the bad press when it started having issues i wouldn't be surprised if they were being cautious.
The fact that Nike already make a bunch of device that have similar features and functionality i would imagine they have a good idea of what to expect. As for them artificially limiting supplies to keep demand up i doubt it especially for such a niche device like this.
I wouldn't be surprised. Although aside from the online store selling out in less than 10 minutes each time they have a supply, I've witnessed how quickly they sell out at Niketown NYC, the only store that sells it physically. Two weeks after sales started (3/7/12), I lined up about 1.5 hours before it opened up to get one and before it did, there were about 50 people in line waiting to buy one.
Larges sold out by about the 7th person in line... mediums seem to sell out by noon and smalls usually last until about 3 or 4pm.
I follow @nikestore on twitter (I'm a bit of a sneaker head) where they announce the Fuel Band for sale and it invariably sells out in minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if the supply is being kept pretty low right now. They do it with special editions of basketball shoes already.
"....Keeping demand high by artificially limiting supply" is a pretty serious accusation.
Wouldn't be the first time a company has done it. It's not like it's illegal or anything.