I wouldn’t call the Galaxy Gear a success by any means, but the smartwatch revolution has officially begun. They’ll get better and better with time, and it looks as though Samsung’s next wearable will be hitting shelves relatively soon.
In the first quarter of 2014, the company will be releasing the Galaxy Band, a fitness tracking band much like Nike’s FuelBand. Motion, pressure, and humidity sensors will be built-in, and the device will be able to sync with other Samsung devices via Bluetooth. Voice controls may also be included.
Expect a product launch at the Mobile World Congress this February.
Typing “Fuelband” into the Google Play store’s search box doesn’t lead you to the Nike+ Fuelband app for its new workout tracking bracelet. According to @NikeSupport, an official Nike Twitter channel, that’s not changing anytime soon. Nike cited its desire to focus “on the FuelBand experience across iOS and nikeplus.com” as its reason for ignoring the Android market. The Fuelband has a lot of things going for it but mobile sync won’t be one of them, at least not for Android users.
Fitbit, who makes similar workout tracking devices, does have an app in the Play Store but only supports direct sync to a small number of Android devices (including the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II). Their current product line-up looks much more like conventional pedometers but Fitbit is set to release its own bracelet, the Fitbit Flex, this Spring. If this is a race for Android-fitness dollars, one contestant just dropped out.
Mobile fitness monitors are alive and well this season and the new kid on the block is the Nike+ FuelBand. The FuelBand is most easiliy decribed as a high tech LiveStrong bracelet. The device is capable of keeping track of calories, steps, time, to name a few, but most notably Nike Fuel; a goal value you try to achieve each day. The band itself tracks activity through oxygen kinetics, which helps it determine whether a user is engaged in an intense sporting activity or sitting at a desk. Nike believes this will provide more precise measurement than simply tracking steps, and allow it to account for the differences across various sports. If you’ll take notice of the colored lights in the picture above, perhaps you’ll agree that Nike may have cracked the nut on personal fitness motivation in a really simple way. The company lets users set daily NikeFuel score goals, and the FuelBand uses red, yellow, or green coloring to let users know how they’re doing toward their goal. That simplistic immediate feedback is what a lot of people need. The lights aren’t green , you need to do more. It almost seems as if it would have the same effects as Xbox achievements.
According to Nike’s website. the FuelBand is water resistant to the extent of wearing it in the shower or dancing in the rain. The band also features single button operation, 20 performance LEDs, 100 white informational LEDs, bluetooth and a built in usb plug in the band. It also includes a charging stand. Currently the bluetooth connection is only useful in coalition with an iPhone app, but Nike says more device support is on the way. Their limited supply has already sold out today, but you’ll be able to pick one up for $149.99 when they become available again. Video after the break.