Wearable health trackers gear up for holiday shopping season

By Jonah Comstock
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FitbitForceConsumer wearable devices are a growing market. According to a recent report from Berg Insights, the category that includes fitness trackers, smart glasses, and smartwatches will have shipped 64 million units worldwide by the end of 2017, up from 8.3 million in 2012.

As the biggest consumer shopping season of the year begins, the fitness tracker arms race is heating up, and the longtime developers in this category -- and some new players as well -- are rolling out their latest updates. Many have all new devices for sale, while others are introducing new features to their existing products.

A few companies are notably missing from this list. BodyMedia's Core 2 Armband -- the fashion-forward followup to the Jawbone subsidiary's upper arm-worn tracker -- missed its originally announced August launch date and still hasn't emerged. Withings, which entered the activity tracker fray this summer, has no news about its Pulse device and Striiv is similarly silent. We'll be keeping an eye out for those announcements.

In the meantime, read on for some big holiday plays in the consumer health wearable space. 

Samsung Galaxy Gear

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In early September, Samsung launched its newest phone, the Galaxy Note 3. And with it, the Korean electronics company launched the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Though not exclusively a health wearable, the Galaxy Gear launched with integration with a number of fitness apps including RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, and Azumio's Argus. The watch itself includes both an accelerometer and a camera, which the various tracking apps make use of to track movement and enable manual food tracking. The device sells for $299. Samsung has previously announced a dedicated fitness tracking device for the wrist, the Samsung S Band, but that product is not yet available.