LG diving into wearable market with new fitness-tracking wristband and earphones
May 13, 2014
We're going to be seeing a lot of new wearables soon, from large companies, small companies, and everything in between. LG is ready to join the fray, not just with its Android Wear-running G Watch, but also a pair of fitness devices that are a little different from the usual batch of smartwatches and Google Glass rivals.
LG recently spilled some info on its two new wearables fitness trackers: the Lifeband Touch, a wrist-based device reminiscent of the Nike FuelBand, and the LG Heart Rate Earphones. Rather than just one wearable device, LG is gunning for an entire "wearable ecosystem." Phone in pocket, band on wrist, earphones in ears. Maybe we could throw in some smart shoulder pads, just for fun?
The Lifeband Touch has an elongated 0.9-in (128 x 32) OLED display. LG is touting its motion-sensing capabilities, that "automatically turns on the display when wearers rotate their wrists." It sounds a lot like the auto-on feature in Samsung's Gear series of watches, but maybe LG has something more impressive in store with these two devices.
LG isn't yet saying a lot about the Lifeband Touch's fitness-tracking capabilities, but I think it's safe to assume that the usual 24-hour pedometer and workout tracking features will be in tow. The company does mention that the Lifeband can display incoming calls and messages on its screen. No word if it will show customizable notifications from third-party apps.
As for the Heart Rate Earphones, well, I'll give you one guess what they're all about. Ding, ding, ding! Yep, they're headphones that measure your heart rate (an idea that has recently seen Bragi raise over $3 million on Kickstarter). LG says that the earphones' PerformTek technology delivers more accurate pulse readings than other wearable devices by sensing blood flow through your ear, rather than, say, your wrist. Being earphones, they naturally play music as well (with "excellent sound," according to LG).
You can use the Heart Rate Earphones with or without the Lifeband Touch. The earphones include a Bluetooth-connected clip-on medallion that transmits info to either the Lifeband or a connected smartphone.
Speaking of connected smartphones, the two wearables are compatible with an LG Fitness app that will run on both iPhones and Android phones. It will also play nicely with some popular third-party fitness apps, including MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness.
If LG's new wearables tickle your fancy, then you don't have long to wait. They launch in the US on May 18, and will roll out to "key markets in Asia and Europe" in the following days and weeks. We know that they'll be sold separately (and the Lifeband will ship in three different sizes), but the company hasn't announced any pricing details just yet.