Samsung Electronics unveiled a new smart watch and fitness band along with the latest version of its flagship Galaxy smartphone on Monday, demonstrating how the battleground for innovation is shifting from the hand to the wrist.
The world’s biggest smartphone maker set a trend less than six months ago for wearable devices that link to mobile handsets with its Galaxy Gear watch, which has seen rivals like Sony and Huawei follow in its wake.
Samsung’s Gear 2, which runs on the Tizen operating system rather than Google’s Android software, can monitor the wearer’s heart rate, a function used in increasingly popular health and fitness apps, or individual programs.
The Samsung Gear Fit, also targeting the fitness sector, has a curved screen and features including a pedometer and heart rate monitor, Samsung said.
The Galaxy S5 itself, which will be available in April, includes a slightly bigger screen than its predecessor, at 5.1 inches against 5 inches, improved camera technology and better protection against water and dust, Samsung said.
It also has a fingerprint scanner on the home button, it said, which can unlock the device and provide security credentials in a swipe.
It will enter a market that has seen slowing demand at the top-end, where Samsung is already in fierce competition from Apple Inc and Chinese vendors.