One of the biggest issues that wearable brands are facing these days is how to stick them onto the human body without it looking like you’re a massive tech nerd.
Smartwatches sort of solve the problem, but they’re still mostly behemoths on the wrist compared to your day to day timepieces. So how do you create something that will give you the fitness data that many people crave but somehow stay invisible?
Samsung’s new wearable range aims to solve that problem, going down the modular route that many other manufacturers have taken.
The ‘Samsung Charm’ (which I only gleaned from the app itself, with Samsung representatives telling me there was no name yet) is a small device that can be clipped in and out of different jewellery-based holders.
This means that you can stuff it in a cufflink, wear it around your neck or even have it as a ring if you want to get the maximum fitness data but still want to look stylish with it. Well, sort of… this thing isn’t tiny.
There are two versions of the Charm, with the aforementioned one being more multi-faceted than the bracelet version, which is a larger module that adds in wider functionality.
The smaller charm seems to be pretty compact though, given that it’s supposed to be able to track steps (and presumably sleep) and give you notifications when they come through.
Sadly, the smaller module can’t buzz to let you know when something has come in for your attention – it’ll just flash with a notification light to let you know it’s time to get your phone out.
The larger bracelet version can do all the haptics though, so if you’re looking for something a little more functional then that’s the option.
While there were cufflinks on offer to show how versatile the Samsung Charm is, this felt again like a wearable aimed at women, with a necklace, ring and slimline design of the larger bracelet version looking a lot more like female jewellery.
If you’re thinking this seems a lot like what Misfit is offering then, well, you’re not too far wrong here. The smaller module moves around just like the other brand’s does (although it’s slightly more compact, thus making it more applicable for things like rings) and the bracelet version mirrors very closely the new Misfit Ray – although given both were launched at the same show it’s likely that’s just mere coincidence.
I was only able to pick up the bangle version of the smaller Samsung charm, so wasn’t able to see how easily it flitted in and out of different holders. It didn’t seem overly clunky though, and while it would be a larger ring to wear, it wouldn’t look ridiculous.
The key question here is how accurate it could be, given it’s placed at random places all over the body – can I get the right amount of step tracking information from my finger as around my neck?
It’d be great to see more male-centric places to use this as well to make it properly unisex, as I really like the idea of shoving it in a pair of cufflinks. There’s no word on price or release date as this seems like just a concept at the moment – but a cool one that shows the bigger players are thinking about how to get wearables more seamlessly into our lives.