It's way too early to get excited about a product that was just announced -- and that I've barely had much time to play with. But Samsung's latest wearable, the Gear Fit, marks a territory that has been emerging since CES in January: half fitness band, half smartwatch, the little, curved-screen device looks like it's trying to be both a Pebble and a Fitbit; to have its wearable cake and eat it, too.
That's a great idea. In fact, it's an idea I was thinking of last year when the Fitbit Force arrived. Could slightly smarter fitness bands be the "smartwatches" we've been waiting for? The Nike Fuelband is already a sort of watch. And, based on this list of top smartwatch companies, the Smartwatch Group already considers the Fitbit Force and Fuelband to be smartwatches: they tell the time, and they wirelessly connect to transfer data.
But, the Gear Fit really is smart...or promises to be. It'll receive notifications, track your heart rate, control music, and...well, do all the basic things most people think of when they think of "smart watch." A more fully-featured Gear 2 offers a camera, microphone, standalone music storage, and the possibility of more apps, but are those features anyone's looking for? Maybe the Gear Fit is the magic in-between device that's...well...a better fit right now. It straddles the territory between fitness band and watch, understanding that most people will only buy one wrist gadget.
Samsung's not the only one. The Razer Nabu, the LG Lifeband Touch, and the Huawei TalkBand are all entering similar smarter-band territory. And maybe Apple's mythical iWatch could have some of these elements in common, too.
The Gear Fit's construction is also smart: because it has a pop-out design and different straps, it can morph its style instead of being wedded to one color or shape. It could even be adopted into a different type of wearable, theoretically: why not have it pop into a piece of clothing or another accessory?
I saw all of Samsung's products yesterday in New York. I went to sleep last night, talked about the products this morning, and realized that, of all of them, the one I heard the most buzz about, read the most positive tweets about, was the Gear Fit. The price is still unknown, but if it stays competitive to the Nike/Fitbit/Withings landscape of fitness tech, I know which Gear I'd be most interested in.
Mobile World Congress 2018
reading•Perfect Fit: Why the Samsung Gear Fit might be a hint of wristbands to come
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Mar 29•CNET UK podcast 537: Huawei goes colourful and Andy secures his home