This week, Samsung launched its entry into the smartwatch race with the announcement of the Galaxy Gear at a press event in Berlin, Germany, and the watch will serve as a fitness device as well. The watch will get a special version of Azumio's Argus fitness app which also incorporates capabilities of Azumio's Instant Heart Rate and Instant Fitness apps.
The customized Argus app will be preloaded on Galaxy Gear devices which will begin shipping September 25 in the US. It allows users to track and view steps and calories burned and to use the smartwatch's camera to take pictures of food and store them in the app's timeline, all on the watch itself without the need for a phone. They can also check their heart rate with the built-in camera and view audio-cued workouts from Azumio's Instant Fitness app.
The Galaxy Gear version of Argus will launch with a few popular workouts from Instant Fitness, but users will be able to download the full, newly-launched Android Instant Fitness app to gain access to additional routines.
The Galaxy Gear has a 3-inch screen and a camera built into the watch strap. The watch uses Bluetooth to connect to a user's Galaxy S smartphone and tablet, and possibly other Android devices, and WiFi to connect to certain features -- like email -- when the phone is not around. The device also contains an accelerometer and a gyroscope, and has an advertised battery life of 25 hours.
Galaxy Gear might be the only way for smartphone users to get Argus on Android, since the app is currently only available for iOS, although most of Azumio's apps are now available on both Android and Apple phones. However, MobiHealthNews has learned an Android version is in the works.
Azumio launched Argus in July as a smartphone-based all-day fitness and health tracker. It also integrates with Salutron LifeTrak and New Balance LifeTRNR step trackers, as well as Withings weight scales.
Meanwhile, Samsung has made a number of public, if not yet fully executed, ventures into health tracking recently. The company announced an update to its S Health app and several connected health tracking devices when it launched its Galaxy S4 phone in March, but the devices, a heart rate strap, weight scale, and activity tracker, have yet to go on sale. Just last month the company launched a new gamified health app called Health Buddy in Korea, but has announced no plans to launch it in the US.
Perplexingly, Samsung barely mentioned health and fitness at its launch event -- in stark contrast to the Galaxy S4 launch event earlier this year.