The coolest wearables at CES 2016 are hidden in Samsung's booth
The tech giant has created a smart belt, suit and golf shirt, as well as a solar powered bag that will charge your Galaxy phone in four hours.
Shara TibkenFormer managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Turns out the company has been working on smart suits, bags and workout gear -- and it's showing them all off this week at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas. Some of those products are even expected to hit the market this year.
The South Korean electronics giant displayed several new wearables created by its sister company Samsung C&T. Samsung Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in South Korea, owns both companies.
As odd as it sounds, Samsung is much more than electronics. It also makes high-end men's clothing. And builds boats. And runs a fancy hotel in Korea. In reality, Samsung stretches into virtually any business you can think of.
Samsung smart clothing from wellness belts to solar-charging bags (pictures)
Wearables is one area Samsung Group's different businesses can work together. As the electronics arm looks to make smarter jewelry, clothing and other products, it can turn to C&T for help. Wearables are seen as a fast growing area for the electronics industry.
The new creations shown at CES included the Samsung WELT, or Wellness Belt. The WELT communicates with your phone to tell you how many steps you've taken, how long you've been sitting, eating habits and your waistline size. It then sends the data to a specially-designed app for analysis, to tell you things like -- if you keep eating like you did today, you're going to gain 2 pounds this month. Samsung expects the WELT to go on sale this year.
That device came out of Samsung's Creative Lab that lets employees build their own product ideas. Samsung's also showing two other C-Lab projects at CES -- Rink, a hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices, and TipTalk, a new user experience that enables users to hear sounds, transmitted through their own body.
Another new Samsung creation shown at CES was the Sol Bag. This purse contains solar panels on the side to let you charge your Galaxy smartphone in about four hours. It can't store sun power, though, so charging only occurs when you're in light. Samsung expects its bag to go on sale this year, said C&T executives at the Samsung booth.
And there's smart clothing. Samsung showed off its Smart Suit that has already gone on sale in Korea for about $500. The Smart Suit has NFC in the wrist to do things like unlock your phone when you take it out of your pocket or let you exchange business cards digitally. You can also set different modes on your phone, like Office Mode and Drive Mode.
Along with a smart suit, Samsung C&T created a golf shirt under its Bean Pole Golf brand. It has similar functions to the Smart Suit and also can tell you the weather or the UV rating where you are.
And Samsung's Body Compass 2.0 workout suit contains six different kinds of sensors to track your fitness levels like heart rate, respiration and body fat levels. The company hasn't yet decided if it will release the product, said a product manager at the Samsung booth.
The other Galaxy -- Samsung Group beyond electronics (pictures)