Companies with the foresight a few years ago to get into the fitness tracker and wearables space are reaping the rewards big right now. However, those who sat back and watched have enjoyed the luxury of observing this nascent market, and like Samsung, some are carving out new niches within it.
That's the mission statement at least behind Samsung's Charm wearable device. Launched on Friday (May 13), Samsung is billing its newest offering as "a stylish lifestyle band" that, while incorporating most of the features common to fitness trackers on the market today, presents consumers with a more fashionable offering not marred by smartwatch-like screens. However, to preserve the aesthetic qualities of the device, Samsung had to eschew normal methods of notifications in lieu of color-coded LED alerts that it thinks will do the job of communicating notifications at least as well as its fashion-minded target demographic needs it to.
VentureBeat reported that while there's no official word from Samsung yet, the South Korean company might go for a full-court press on the fitness tracker/fashionista market with a second Charm model designed more like a traditional bracelet instead of the announced unit's teardrop-esque shape. Whether that remains in the shadows or comes to market soon, Samsung is clearly less worried about availability than it is first impressions. The Charm is only launching in four countries to begin with: South Korea, Italy, France and Russia.
The Charm will retail for around $45, which is slightly below base models offered by entrenched competitors, like Fitbit, Mio and Garmin. While that may prove a solid entry price for the fitness tracker market, it remains to be seen whether customers will jump at the chance to shell out for a screenless device that leans so heavily on smartphone integration.
Even if it looks like a million bucks.