Samsung introduced the Gear Fit2, an update to its fitness wristband, on June 2.
At a glance, the biggest update between Samsung's 2-year-old Fit and the new Fit2 is the latter's curved display. While the Fit sat stanchly atop a wrist—a flat tabletop of a display—the Fit2 features a 322-pixels-per-inch, curved super AMOLED that's bright and clear and sits much more naturally.
But what may impress consumers even more are the phonelike features Samsung has squeezed in under that display, including a stand-alone music player that works without the need for a companion smartphone and an integrated Spotify app (which does require a companion phone).
The Fit2, which Samsung introduced with its Gear IconX wireless earbuds, also includes GPS and health sensors and can track steps, calories burned, heart rate, the amount of sleep a user gets and more. And an auto-tracking feature automatically captures users' stats, whether they're running, rowing or on an elliptical machine, without the need to manually activate the band.
Also, further pushing users toward their fitness goals, the Fit2 includes a Step Goal Challenge that can be shared on Facebook, and data can be transferred from the Fit2 to other fitness and S Health applications.
The Fit2 is waterproof, comes in two sizes—for large or small wrists—and is available in blue, black and pink.
"Living a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for consumers to enjoy fulfilling lives," Younghee Lee, Samsung's executive vice president of global marketing, said in a statement. "Our wearable technology can enhance existing routines and blend fitness and fun."
Samsung is hoping it'll also enhance its efforts to win over more Fitbit users—as well as enhance its bottom line, during an earnings quarter in which it expects smartphone and tablet sales to be flat.
"Samsung's Gear Fit2 stands out in the market with its good looks—the large, curved display is really striking," Avi Greengart, research director of Consumer Platforms & Devices at Current Analysis, told eWEEK.
"It could make Samsung marginally more competitive against Fitbit," Greengart added, "but Fitbit has a more focused brand and more platform flexibility (iOS and any Android phone), and many Fitbit bands are sold at lower price points."
The Gear Fit2 is priced at $179—$20 less than the original Fit—and at around the midpoint between the $249.95 Fitbit Surge, the most watchlike of the Fitbit line, with a touch screen, heart rate monitor, compass and accelerometers, and the $129.95 Fitbit Alta, with its tap display and call, text and calendar alerts.
Like the Fit2, the Microsoft Band features a color AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It includes 11 sensors, including GPS, a UV monitor and a barometer, and can receive call alerts and messages, even when it's away from a smartphone, and dictate responses using its Cortana digital assistant. For a limited time, Microsoft has reduced its price from $249.99 to $174.99.
"I think what this really comes down to is that it's increasingly clear that wearables won't be a huge category in total, and if you can't dominate any single segment as Apple and Fitbit do, you have to participate broadly to sell a meaningful number of devices," Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, told eWEEK.
"What Samsung is doing here," Dawson added, "is replicating its smartphone and tablet strategy by creating a diverse portfolio rather than a single flagship device."