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Samsung debuts wearables and latest Galaxy smartphone

(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics unveiled a new smart watch and fitness band along with the latest version of its Galaxy smartphone on Monday, demonstrating how the battleground for innovation is shifting from the hand to the wrist.

The world's biggest smartphone maker set a trend less than six months ago for wearable devices that link to mobile handsets with its Galaxy Gear watch, which has seen rivals like Sony and Huawei follow in its wake.

JK Shin, chief executive officer and president of the IT and Mobile Communication Division at Samsung Electronics, said the devices were designed to make life easier for consumers in areas like fitness, rather than dazzling them with new technology in the handset.

"Our consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology," he told an audience of Samsung employees, partners and media in Barcelona.

They instead wanted beautiful design, a better camera, faster connectivity and technology that would help them keep fit, he said.

Samsung's Gear 2 smart watch, which runs on the Tizen operating system rather than Google's Android software, can monitor the wearer's heart rate, a function used in increasingly popular health and fitness apps, or individual programmes.

The Samsung Gear Fit, also targeting the fitness sector, has a heart rate monitor, too, as does the Samsung Galaxy S5 itself, a first for a smartphone, Samsung said.

The Gear Fit has a curved touch-sensitive screen and its features include a pedometer, the South Korean company said.

The Galaxy S5, which will be available in April, has a slightly bigger screen than its predecessor, at 5.1 inches compared with 5 inches, improved camera technology and better protection against water and dust, Samsung said.

It also has a fingerprint scanner on the home button, it said, which can be used to protect data and provide security credentials in a swipe.

Analysts said the improvements in the fifth iteration of the Galaxy S, which has sold more than 200 million units in total, were more incremental than in previous devices, showing it was becoming harder to innovate at the top end.

Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson said, "The Galaxy S5 has great features and will probably sell well due to massive marketing support.

"But is the total product experience it offers differentiated enough to continue the sales success story? Is it enough to bet on fitness and fingerprint sensors to beat Apple - rooting the experience in people's daily lives? I don't think so."

It will enter a market that has seen slowing demand at the top end, where Samsung is already in fierce competition from Apple Inc and Chinese vendors.

(Editing by David Evans and Jan Paschal)

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desloan February 26 2014 at 5:24 PM

If you secure your phone and use the finger print to unock the phone. What happens if a first responder needs to check you ICE? Will they know enough to scan your finger print to open the phone. Hope that you are not unconcious and can tell them. Otherwise, I doubt that they will no how to access your phone.

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loocwarm February 25 2014 at 1:53 PM


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rla7305199 February 25 2014 at 1:16 PM

There ARE major advantages to the Samsung Galaxy line over the iPhone line: the 2 most significant are the ability to replace or upgrade the battery in the Samsungs, rather than having to replace the unit due to battery failure, and the ability to also increase on-board memory, which iPhone simply refuses to allow....Samsung should advertise these and other advantages (such as a MUCH friendlier user interface).

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craftlaw February 25 2014 at 12:59 PM

no thanks... koreans skin dogs alive

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evonie55 February 25 2014 at 12:04 PM

Here we go again....throwing money to those who have it already. We have become a society of excesse. Everything else be damned Like the Madonna song of the early eighties, we are living in a material world.

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kenyng February 25 2014 at 11:56 AM

Samsung products are not reliable, in Korea on the local news I have seen protests outside Samsung headquarters by Koreans who have purchased Samsung products and the products have caught fire, or just plain stopped working.

At home in the States I have see Samsung televisions on display at stores with half the picture scrambled.

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Sekinu2 February 25 2014 at 12:48 PM

They actually have one of the highest quality ratings of all electronics makers. They are cheap to fix if an issue arises and the samsung tvs have some of the best resolution and prices around. Display tv get treated like rental cars by the public so if you even try to use those as backing facts then you already lost the arguement.

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bonecracr February 25 2014 at 11:31 AM

TIM COOK MUST GO...... Samsung is eating Apples shorts at every turn. They innovate and are not afraid to spend money. Tim Cook is sitting on his rear end hoarding the cash and doing nothing with it. He keeps promising and not delivering. Steve Jobs is turning over in his grave. Once again TIM COOK MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

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hman570 February 25 2014 at 10:36 AM

Dick Tracy has arrived!!!!

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1 reply to hman570's comment
blaiseschmidt February 26 2014 at 8:30 AM

I met Dick Tracy. :)

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hdgoose February 25 2014 at 10:20 AM

Smartphones really suck as a phone anyway. They are 90% computer and 10% phone. Where can I get a 50% phone and 50% computer? Does anyone make something like that? Anyone thats been around since bag phones came out; you know how bad these newer phones suck for voice coverage.

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Larry Stephenson February 25 2014 at 10:13 AM

I am ready for the new Samsung, where can I get 3 of them ??, also when and where are they going to be available from, Thanks

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