MWC 2014 –Mobile World Congress–Got stuff you want to see?

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Just a quick heads up to folks that I’ll be headed to Mobile World Congress late Sunday night.  I’ll be on the show floor Monday, and perhaps a few hours Tuesday morning before heading out.  The massive event is held in Barcelona each year and focuses on anything mobile related.  While in the early years it traditionally was really just focused on cell phones, it’s since expanded to any mobile technology – including lots of health and fitness technology.

Thus, if you know of companies showing off new health/sport/fitness focused goods there that you think I need to check out, let me know!  There’s over 1,400, so while I definitely have a list of my own, it’s always good to hear about things I may have missed.

The big ticket items expected next week would be Samsung’s announcements, likely for a new slate of phones and a new smart watch.  Given their previous statements, we should expect that all of the phones/tablets should be ANT+ enabled (as well as Bluetooth Smart capable).  Whether or not the watch will be remains to be seen.

Looking forward to it.  Oh, and I’ll be doing some openwater swims in the morning.  So if there’s a few suckers volunteers that want to go for an early morning dip – let me know!

Thanks for reading!

41 Comments

  1. taniwha

    You might want to give a look at Jolla Sailfish.
    link to jolla.com

    Reply
  2. John

    Well, I'm sure you'll already be on the lookout for BLE-compatible watches and "head units", but that looks to be an interesting space. BLE may be the downfall of ANT+, and it'll be interesting to see who jumps on the bandwagon first (like Polar's V800)...

    Reply
  3. SHADOWMATE

    I dont think it will be the downfall at all. I think everything will be connecting in as many ways as possible.

    Reply
  4. Thomas

    I'd be interested in iPhone apps that take advantage of the M7 chip

    Reply
    • Eli replied

      MWC has historically been more Android focused and has very little Apple presence.

      Would be interesting to see if Android phones will get a low power co processor like the M7. Seems like there could be a big surge in activity monitors using smart phones if it could be done with less of a battery hit.

      Reply
  5. Eli

    Samsung's S5 invite to their announcement indicates the fitness side should see some changes so think there is more to it then just supporting Ant+ (i.e. s health may have some big changes)

    Reply
  6. Not much of a swimmer but if you go running I'll definitely come. Enjoy MWC, I'm just planning on getting lost and see the big announcements :)

    Reply
  7. Anonymouse

    Thought you might be interested in what the folks at The Wirecutter think of your work: link to thewirecutter.com. (I realize this isn't exactly on point, but this seemed the easiest way to show this to both you and your audience.)

    Reply
  8. Hi Ray, I'll be there from tomorrow for the whole show - I'm a guest speaker on the SanDisk stand. Do drop by and say hello if you're passing the booth... don't think I'll be joining for morning swims (even if I was, I'm such a horrifically slow swimmer there's no way I'd subject you to swimming with me!), though I do plan on getting some running in over the duration.
    I'll be having a scout around for anything interesting and health related too, just for personal interest - I want to see what 4iiii are up to for one.

    Reply
  9. Eli

    Any new devices or apps that use HRV information?

    Maybe Beddit and Withings will be there with their sleep trackers?

    Any new GPS/glonass technology? Seems like the GPS chipset itself hasn't had any announcement of improvements. Seems like there should be room to make the chipsets use less power

    Technology to do location tracking without GPS. There is the location tracking for the end user which I know "Trusted Positioning" is working on as they have press releases out saying their tech will be coming out this year in some smartphones. There are also companies using this to triangulate people's smartphones to be able to track crowds and the people in them. (a store can track how customers move through the store, who the new customers are, how many people enter the store they convert into buying something)

    A trend to keep an eye on is the popularity of smart watches. Yes, there is the obvious reasons of this importance so I'll ignore those. Thinking more about the less obvious. Low power CPU development has been pushed pretty far by smart phones in that smart phones require pretty powerful CPUs which has allowed large R&D budgets to be used to improve them. The problem for sports devices is that those CPUs are still too power hungry and there hasn't been demand for lower powered devices to get them to improve all that much. Most of our sports devices would use CPUs that are more like what is being put into smart watches so improvement funded by smart watch popularity should help sports devices be more powerful. (So for example the Edge 810 seems to use the same processor as the Edge 800 which came out in 2010, imagine if processing speed of edge units increased like is did in cell phones)

    BTW why are there what looks to be 2 android cell phones in that picture? Is there a hint of something new there?

    Reply
  10. DawieO

    Hey Ray,

    I'm also going, maybe you could share your target stalls? Would hate to miss any cool stuff!

    Dawie - South Africa

    Reply
  11. DawieO

    Oh, and I am very keen on those swims!

    Reply
  12. frank d

    Off topic, but, the Fitbit Force was recalled today.

    Between the hundreds of reports of people losing them and hundreds of reports of skin burns, numbers that just kept growing, it was about time Fitbit finally got its act together.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Indeed, great news. Though, kinda sorta want to throw my laptop out the window, since there's an unpublished review on it. Beyond the band (both the clasp portion as well as skin thing), it was a great device technologically. Of course, those two items were deal killers. :-/

      Reply
    • frank d replied

      I hear you, that you can't publish some of your work, which you always put a lot of effort and thought into. Now it is down a mention in the weekly summary. ;)

      The Force was a great device, that why I purchased one for my wife, but between the rash / burn (over the holidays) and now 5 weeks after she stopped wearing it, she is stuck pretty bad round scar on her wrist :-(

      Reply
    • Luke replied

      Publish it!!!

      Reply
  13. Who is going to make the better version of the MotoACTIVE? I loved that device, it did both Bluetooth & ANT+. It counted steps taken, worked for cycling & running. Battery Life was a problem, but the real deal killer was the lack of waterproofing and swim metrics. Since I'm a triathlete I would need my wrist fitness device for Swimming & Running metrics.

    Reply
  14. Joan

    I'll love to join you for a morning swim. Name the time and the place. If you want I can also get you into my swimming club pool (50m outdoors, heated, open 10am-10pm) or my gym pool (50m indoors, open 6:15am-22:30pm).

    Reply
  15. JimL

    I wish people would quit using "burn" to describe the allergic reaction to the Fitbit Force. It is a rash. An allergic reaction. There is a common metal allergy involved. End dermatologist rant.

    Reply
    • frank d replied

      Dear Dr., Dermatologist.

      I apologize for using common words to describe the matter with the Fitbit Force as rash or burn in layman's terms versus allergic reaction or even better contact dermatitis.

      Please note that it would appear NOT to be the nickel allergy you allude to, which Fitbit is still hiding behind, partially. My wife and countless other people who have been affected by the Force have tested negative for nickel and/or other metals / components.

      They are talking now about toxic components in the wrist band glue or sealant which the internals are covered with.

      So, now when the skin or body acts against unknown toxic components it comes in contact with. Is it still an "allergic reaction" or a "chemical burn" ?

      One typically hears that chemicals will irritate and burn the skin. Maybe there has to be component of time to it, as in rapidly damaging several layers of tissue to be one thing or another?

      Reply
  16. marc steingrand

    something about withings and tantia scakes integration would be great

    Reply
  17. Stefan

    Curious whether Withings will support iPhone's M7.

    Reply
  18. Fran

    Any chance to check progress of ANT+ trainer protocol?

    Reply
  19. Eli

    bing health and fitness? They just recently released a new windows phone app which can track eexercises and uses MS's cloud to save the data to. (Anyone else using Microsoft HealthVault?)

    Reply
  20. Gert

    Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit device

    Reply
  21. Dick Morris

    Obviously I write for many on this one..

    Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neo.

    Some ‘First Looks’ comments such as….

    How is the HRM part of the device actuated.? Do you feel it will be reliable.

    Featured apps on the spec sheets list a Garmin App.. Is this location only ..??

    OR and this could be BIG.. Can we download the steps and HRM functions of these devices to the new Garmin Connect..!!!

    Details all over the web but listed at Android Central and Smartwatchfans..

    Have a great trip, Barcelona is a fun place to visit and a BIG THANK YOU..

    Reply
    • NewClydesdale replied

      Yea, the article I read glossed over the HRM but really this could be the start of the cross over fitness/daily use watch.

      I'd be curious about water proofing (aka sweat), and how close the HRM is to the new Mio Link.

      Reply
    • Dick Morris replied

      OK It seems like we have THREE devices..

      Add to the above the Samsung Galaxy Fit...

      It seems a bit like the Garmin Vivofit but with a curved colour screen, HRM built in, step counter, as well as phone and messaging functions.

      They did not comment on the battery life..!!!

      Thanks

      Reply
    • NewClydesdale replied

      I wonder if the watches will support Ant+

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, they do not. The phones do, as does all of Sony's new phones. But more on Sony tomorrow...

      Reply
  22. Andrea

    I wonder why in the present version of Connect app, Garmin didn't take advantage of ANT+ present in the latest Samsung like S4......any future implementation may be?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As much as I'd love to see that, I think that's going to be a rather big gap to cover...

      Reply
  23. Ken

    If the manufactures of Bluetooth chips are attending, a roadmap of when and what chips are coming (and capabilities) would be great.

    Reply
  24. Eli

    Gear fit seems too narrow to have an optical hr sensor without having issues with external light bleed

    Reply
  25. Super excited about the Samsung Galaxy Fit, Gear 2, Neo;
    Battery life with constant continous HR-measuring? Will any of these devices last as long as a Mio Alpha?
    Is it possible to download/export your training sessions, or is it going to be stuck in some Samsung app/web service?
    Announced third party fitness apps for these devices? I read that RunKeeper would be available for the Gear 2 - will that be able to use the built-in HRM?

    Reply
  26. dumpy

    Broadcom announced a new GPS chipset for the likes of us at this conference: BCM4771. But only sampling this quarter, so it'll be a while (fall at the earliest?) before seeing it in any devices. And I haven't seen a plainly-stated summary of how it compares to other solutions, like SirfStarIV or V.

    BTW, what GPS chipset is Garmin using in the 620 and other recent devices? Are they still using CSR SirfStar stuff? Anyone know?

    Reply
  27. David

    Not sure if this qualifies as fitness related. It's health related though.
    link to news.pg.com

    Reply

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