IFA 2017: Samsung Adds Productive Appeal To Fitness Smartwatches

Samsung’s pursuit of the wearable market continues with the launch of three new fitness-focused devices at IFA in Berlin.

The Samsung Gear Sport is a new smartwatch, the Gear Fit2 Pro is a GPS-enabled sportband, and the Gear IconX are wireless earbuds.

The Korean giant has long targeted smartwatches as an area it can establish dominance and offset any fall in revenues caused by smartphone saturation, but it has so far enjoyed only modest success when compared to the popularity of its Galaxy devices.

Samsung Gear update

It is not alone in this respect, and health and fitness have become the key selling points for the fledgling wearable sector. Samsung however hopes to expand beyond fitness by making consumers recognise the potential of productivity features, just as Fitbit hopes with its first smartwatch.

“We want to help remove the stigma that fit can only mean one thing and that fitness trackers are complex and for only the most intense of workouts,” said DJ Koh, head of Samsung Mobile. “Our new Samsung Gear wearables help consumers ‘go beyond fitness’ and enjoy an active, balanced and fulfilled life in a smart and seamless way.”

The Gear Sport is a 1.2inch Tizen-powered smartwatch with interchangable straps that aim to make it ideal for both fitness and other use, ‘military grade’ durability, and mart functions such as the ability to act as a PowerPoint remote or a VR controller. Meanwhile, the Gear Fit2Pro is a 1.5 inch sportband that delivers fitness alerts and notifications.

Both have ‘industry leading’ water resistance and swim tracking, heart rate monitoring, automatic activity detection, and work with services like Spotify, Under Armor and MapMyRun for fitness tracking and offline music.

The iconX ear buds also offer standalone run coaching and offline music, and have now been updated to work with Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant.

As one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers with fingers in many pies, Samsung also took the opportunity to show off some of its other consumer products. It has created a new 43-inch FRAME ‘virtual display’ and has agreed partnerships with museums and other organisations so various pieces of artwork can be downloaded via a dedicated marketplace.

Alongside the usual plethora of television sets, Samsung also unleashed the world’s largest QLED gaming monitor, the CGH90, which measures up at 90 inches and offers a 178-degree viewing angle.

There were also faster and more efficient washing machines and vacuum cleaners, and news that fridge voice capabilities were coming to more countries.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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