Here's a fun way to pass the time while you're catching up on CES news at home: take a drink of your favorite spirit every time you see the word "wearable." Now say goodbye to your liver. Korean manufacturer LG has decided to enter both the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets at once with the Lifeband Touch, a watch-style Bluetooth device with an OLED screen.
Both fitness tracking and remote notification bases are covered here. The Lifeband Touch will track your steps taken, distance, and calories burned, and use the OLED screen as a readout for said data. When you throw in a pair of LG's "Heart Beat" headphones, they'll use an integrated optical sensor to measure your heart rate as well. Connect the Lifeband to an Android or iOS device with Bluetooth 4.0 and it can also display call and notification information, as well as controlling music playback. The watch will interact with LG's customized diet and exercise apps, though these may be exclusive to LG hardware. Oh yeah, and it also works as a watch.
Photo credit: LG Flickr
The all-black, waterproof Lifeband Touch looks a lot like the Nike Fuelband, but if the early press release is accurate, it's a lot more functional (not to mention cross-platform). At the moment there's no indication of when the Lifeband Touch will hit retailers, or for how much, but you can bet that LG will be pushing it alongside its high-end smartphones in the same way that Samsung is now pushing the Galaxy Gear.
Stay tuned: we'll have some hands-on time with the Lifeband Touch soon.
Update: LG has put up a full English site for the Lifeband Touch. It looks like it will cost $179 when it comes to market (whenever that is), and it comes in three sizes, so I assume that it's not adjustable. All three sizes are priced the same.
Strangely, the HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) earphones are also $179.99. It looks like this is a pair of standard Bluetooth headphones with a heart monitor and at least some of the Lifeband's tracking functionality built in, but there's no display on the semi-detached monitoring station. Naturally, both the Lifeband Touch and the HRM Earphone will work in conjunction with an Android or iOS smartphone.
LG isn't saying when these devices will go on sale, but based on the layout of the promotional page, I'd guess that they will be hitting online and retail stores sooner rather than later.
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- LG Electronics (LG) today took the wraps off LG Lifeband Touch and LG Heart Rate Earphones, two wearable products that mark the company's first foray into fitness tech. Unveiled at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, both products incorporate comfortable designs and compatibility with other devices so that monitoring one's health requires no additional effort beyond strapping on a watch and inserting a pair of headphone earbuds.
Lifeband Touch is a smart activity tracker that incorporates a bold yet comfortable design and is compatible with heart rate monitors (HRM) as well as smartphones. Meanwhile, the innovative Heart Rate Earphones' unique dual-function design offers a convenient way for users to measure their heart rate while exercising. Both devices are designed to help users take greater control over their health. Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones can wirelessly link up to each other, creating a seamless wearable ecosystem. Connected to smartphones (Android and iOS supported), the devices can transmit data to the intuitive, easy-to-use LG Fitness app, or to a number of other third party apps such as MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper or MapMyFitness.
Lifeband Touch was designed to be asymmetric and flexible, providing greater comfort and style than other wearable fitness wristbands. Featuring a touch OLED panel to display time, biometrics, incoming calls and music controls, the built-in 3-axis accelerometer and altimeter allows the device to accurately measure key performance indicators such as distance, speed, number of steps, calories consumed and projected pace. All this information is visible with a swipe of a finger on the OLED display. Engineered to be lightweight and simple to use, it incorporates a unique motion-sensing algorithm that automatically turns on the display when the wearer rotates his or her wrist. Lifeband Touch also offers wireless connectivity via Bluetooth to transmit data to a smartphone or receive data from third party devices such the Heart Rate Earphones.
LG's Heart Rate Earphones feature PerformTek® sensor technology which measures blood flow signals from the auricle, the external part of the ear to capture accurate biometric data such as heart rate and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max). As a continuous heart rate monitoring device, PerformTek® has proven accurate during rigorous physical activity. LG employs a flexible ear piece design to make its Heart Rate Earphones more comfortable to use than other similar monitoring devices. A clip-on medallion connected to the earphones provides Bluetooth connectivity, enabling the unit to send data to a smartphone or the Lifeband Touch for a truly seamless experience.
"We wanted to introduce wearable fitness products that met the expectations of today's tech savvy consumers and brought something new to the table, which in our case meant exceptional design, comfort and functionality," said Jim Clayton, executive vice president of LG's New Business Division in the Home Entertainment Company. "The uniqueness of our wearable devices is that they weren't just designed for exercise but also for day-to-day use in the office or around the home. With Lifeband Touch, you can get call and text notifications sent from your smartphone while the Heart Rate Earphones are perfectly happy playing back music all day even when you're not exercising. These are much more than just fitness devices."
Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones will be available starting in the United States in the first half of 2014, to be followed by rollouts in other markets. Visitors to LG's booth at CES 2014 (Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall #8204) fromJanuary 7 through January 10 will be able to see and experience LG's newest wearable devices for themselves.