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Samsung Announces Major Push into Wearable Devices Market

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Samsung has announced, what it is calling a "bold initiative" to move into the wearable health and fitness market.

Samsung said that its Digital Health Initiative is based on open hardware and software platforms that it expects will accelerate the development of sensors, algorithms, and data collection and analysis.

At an event at San Francisco's SFJAZZ Center, Samsung's Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) team demonstrated its open platform in a wearable wristband form factor, showing how devices based on this reference-design "blueprint" could be used to track measurements such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The company also demonstrated its open software architecture and how it could be used to collect data from a variety of sources, aggregate it and display it in a format allowing consumers to better understand what is taking place within their bodies.

"We believe this initiative is an essential first step and we invite developers and partners across the globe to join us in creating the technologies of the future that will help make people's lives healthier." said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics.

Samsung's Simband is an open hardware reference design for wearable technology, that is being designed in a modular way, allowing for innovation in areas like battery life, form factor and noninvasive sensor technology.

Simband is a reference design and will not be sold commercially.

Samsung also announced the Samsung Digital Health Challenge, a $50 million investment fund dedicated to innovative start-ups and technologies in the digital health area.

The unknown is whether this is actually is, as the company claims, a "bold initiative".

It can only be seen as a bold initiative if the company throws a massive amount of effort into the product and radically changes its entire consumer electronics to be based around them. Otherwise it will be seen as just another me-too attempt to jump on the wearable devices bandwagon.

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