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Samsung, Sony enter the fitness tracking market

This post has been updated. See the note at the bottom for details.

February 24, 2014|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • The Samsung Gear Fit is a fitness tracking band that will go on sale in April.
The Samsung Gear Fit is a fitness tracking band that will go on sale in April. (Samsung )

Samsung and Sony dove deeper into the world of wearable technology this week by announcing new fitness tracking bands.

The two Asian tech companies have been selling smartwatches for some time, but their entrance into the fitness tracking market could threaten FitBit and JawBone, two companies that have had success selling bands to users interested in measuring how active they are.

Alongside the unveiling of the Galaxy S5 on Monday, Samsung announced the Gear Fit, a device users wear on their wrists that features a 1.84-inch curved screen. The Gear Fit comes with several kinds of fitness sensors, including a heart-rate monitor and a pedometer.

The Gear Fit can be used to track users' exercise as a standalone device or it can also be connected to numerous Samsung mobile devices. When paired via Bluetooth, the Gear Fit will relay notifications that users receive -- such as emails, text messages, alarms -- on their Samsung smartphones.

Samsung's fitness tracking band is similar to the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, two smartwatches that were announced by the company this week. However, the Gear Fit is much lighter, weighing just 0.06 pound, and it comes with fewer features. Upon its release in April, it will presumably be cheaper than the Samsung smartwatches.

Samsung said the device is dust- and water-proof and can last up to four days on a single battery charge.

PHOTOS: Five ways the Samsung Gear 2 is better than its predecessor

Sony, meanwhile, unveiled the SmartBand, a device that is designed to track users' physical activity as well as their social interactions.

With the SmartBand, users will be able to see how much they've walked and how many calories they've burned during the day, Sony said. Users can also measure their sleep cycles and use the device to be woken up at optimum times.

The SmartBand connects with users' smartphones to vibrate whenever users receive notifications. The device can also be used to control music that is playing on users' smartphones.

Additionally, the SmartBand sends data that it collects to Lifelog, an upcoming Android app developed by Sony. Lifelog aggregates the information collected by the SmartBand as well as other data from users' smartphones to create recaps of users' activities, letting them see what they did and how active they were each day.

"You can see how active you were, where you went, what pictures you took and how you have been communicating with your world," Sony said in a statement. A video about the device can be found on YouTube.

The SmartBand will go on sale worldwide some time in March, but the Japanese tech company did not say when exactly it will be released in the U.S.

[Updated 4:51 p.m. Feb. 24: Sony said the SmartBand will retail for about $135. The company said the SmartBand can get between five and seven days on a single charge. The device is compatible with Sony Xperia devices running Android 4.4.]


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