Samsung got started a little earlier in the wearables space compared to their competitors like Sony and LG. While Sony entered with their SmartBand, and now the SmartBand 2 fitness trackers, Samsung’s Gear Fit is one of the better all-round fitness trackers available right now. Sadly though, it’s only available to those using a Samsung device, and only a specific Galaxy device at that. These exclusive devices might get a lot better in the future however, as Samsung is said to be working on even more sophisticated technology, including a “bio-processor”.
Samsung’s sensor development team recently attended South Korea’s International System on Chip Design Conference and they outlined plans for the bio-processor. Essentially a system-on-chip, akin to the processor, GPU and modem units that are using in processors from Qualcomm but designed solely for health use. The new processor is said to be manufactured using a 45nm process and would include an application processor (presumably based on an Exynos design) Bluetooth and WiFi modules, ECG heart-rate monitors and more all in one package. The idea being that this one package will be created solely for wearable technology, rather than solutions now that rely on a generic ARM processor and outboard sensors. Bringing everything together will make future wearables from Samsung – and perhaps their partner customers – both more efficient as well as more reliable.
Wearable technology such as fitness trackers have gotten a lot more sophisticated over the past few years, with heart rate monitoring becoming a must and more accurate tracking becoming the norm. As companies such as Fitbit have proved with their recent IPO, there is a place for these devices in the mainstream market, but whether or not devices that cost upwards of $200, like the Gear Fit did, remain popular enough to invest in ventures like the bio-processor remains to be seen. For Samsung, a new fitness tracker is presumably what’s next on their agenda after having just launched the new Gear S2 smartwatch, so it will be interesting to see should a follow-up to the Gear Fit (pictured above) be any ore sophisticated than the original.