Smartphone Giants Want Your Body: Page 2


Samsung was one of the first heavyweights to enter the market, releasing last September its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which lets a user read text messages and emails, check online services such as the weather and make calls.

But with a lukewarm reception from critics and, according to analysts, disappointing sales, Samsung launched a new version Sunday, the Gear 2, which includes a camera, TV remote control and a heart rate sensor.

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Chinese smartphone maker Huawei revealed a connected watch of its own on the same day, a TalkBand, to be sold for 99 euros ($136).

Hours later, South Korean manufacturer LG said it would launch its first smartwatch in 2014.

Small Finnish firm Creoir says its model, Ibis, is "the first elegant smartwatch."

"All the connected watches are with sports designs or geeks designs; my wife wouldn't wear that," said Creoir marketing chief Ismo Karali.

Already famous though not yet on sale, Google Glass is the showpiece of the third category of wearable device: connected glasses that let you check your emails, for example, with no more than a glance.

"I have been using it for about a month, but they are very intuitive, I gave it to my six-year-old daughter and she was able to figure it out within minutes," said Cameron Green head of mobile business at technical standards group GS1, who has been testing the Google Glass.

GS1, which creates bar-codes, wants to use the glasses to let customers peer through them and see the all relevant information about a product.

For now, smart glasses seem to be attracting technophiles and certain professional groups, industry experts say.

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"For many vendors though, wearables are just the thing they have got to do as the smartphone penetration caps and margins are under pressure," said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at consumer behavior group Kantar WorldPanel.

"Approached that way, it is unlikely that the vendors will focus on delivering the best experience at the best price. I still feel that 2014 will be a year of trial and error in trying to convince consumers that wearables are a 'must have', not a 'nice to have.'"

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