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China's Xiaomi unveils heart-monitor dock for smartphones

The new dock can use your smartphone to record your blood pressure and heart rate, says The Next Web. But will it launch outside of China?

Xiaomi/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has a new product up its sleeves to monitor your blood pressure.

Branded as iHealth, the new dock attaches to a cuff that can measure your blood pressure and heart rate. Nestled in the dock, your smartphone runs a dedicated app that activates the process and then records and keeps track of your results, according to The Next Web.

The iHealth dock sounds similar to other such devices, such as the Withings Smart Blood Pressure Monitor, which attaches a cuff to your smartphone and uses an app to record and monitor your blood pressure. Such devices have been around for years. But interest in health-related gadgets has grown with the introduction of wearable fitness trackers and could grow further once the Apple Watch launches next year with its potential to monitor your overall health.

A Xiaomi spokesperson told tech site TechinAsia that the new blood pressure monitor can be used on other Android devices but is best suited for Xiaomi smartphones.

Xiaomi has been become a major player in the international smartphone market. Last quarter, the company became the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in the world, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. But the company clearly has aspirations beyond the smartphone world. Last month, Xiaomi dipped into the health market with the launch of a fitness band that sells in China for only 79 yuan (around $13).

The name "iHealth" sounds like it could trigger potential trademark problems for Xiaomi with Apple. But Xiaomi told TNW that a US company called iHealth Labs, in which it invested $25 million earlier this week, already owns the iHealth trademark. iHealth Labs has, in fact, already launched iHealth-branded products for Apple devices, including a blood pressure dock.

The new iHealth dock will sell for 199 Chinese yuan ($33). But will the device be available outside of China? TechInAsia reported that the device will go on sale in China exclusively through Xiaomi's website but didn't indicate availability in other countries. The current iHealth dock and other iHealth accessories are available in the US.

CNET contacted Xiaomi for comment and will update the story with any further details.