The technology battleground is shifting from the hand to the wrist as smartphone makers focus increasingly on smart watches and fitness bands, declared Reuters following announcements from Samsung at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona Spain Monday.
Samsung, Sony, Huawei are all offering new wrist watch or fitness band devices.
Samsung updated the smart watch it launched last year, now available in 2 models with a third model that is a fitness band only–the new Gear Fit. They now run on the Tizen operating system instead of Android.
The top end watch is the Gear 2 with a built-in camera (2-megapixel) and 1.63-inch watchface. It connects over Bluetooth 4.0 to a smartphone or portable media player. It has a heart rate monitor for fitness tracking. And it coaches you during a work out with “haptic” (tactile feedback) to speed or slow your workout. It also gives you notices from a Samsung Galaxy phone for incoming phone calls, and other notifications and apps.
Samsung said the Gear 2 will also run other apps like the Weather Channel or iHeart Radio.
The new Gear 2 Neo is similar but without a camera.
The Gear Fit is a fitness band only with a mini curved touch screen and it acts as a pedometer and heart rate monitor.
All three are due in April at prices to be announced.
As for the new Galaxy S5 smartphone, also due in April, it is now water resistant, with a slightly larger screen at 5.1 inches (v. 5 inches in the S4). It also has a fingerprint scanner in the home button for unlocking the phone.
Samsung seems to have forgone the gimmicky features of the past in favor of simplicity, noted The New York Times. It improved the Galaxy S’s battery life and camera. Photo editing tools are now easier to use and the camera now captures richer colors.
There’s also a power saving mode where the phone goes into a black and white screen.
Photo via Economic Times