Ahead of the upcoming debut of iOS 8, which is expected to include Apple’s “Healthbook” health aggregating platform, Samsung has announced its own health tracking platform that envelops both open modular hardware and a cloud storage solution.
Called SAMI (Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions), the company’s cloud-based sensor data platform is designed to be entirely open to developers and “complementary” with Samsung’s S Health initiative.
Alongside SAMI, Samsung showed off its Simband, a reference device that includes a multitude of wearable sensors with several different health-tracking functions. Designed to be an open reference sensor module, Simband offers the standard accelerometers to measure movement along with an ECG sensor and a sensor that measures skin temperature.
The device, which offers miniaturized electronics along with Bluetooth and WiFi, also shows off a removable “shuttle battery” that clips into the band to charge it while it’s being worn. As described, the battery allows the device to be worn 24/7, snapping in to charge it during sleep. The open device is multimodal and designed to be customized with interchangeable components, allowing hardware developers to create their own hardware able to be attached to the band.
Samsung’s cloud platform SAMI is designed to collect “any kind of data” from a range of devices. On stage, the platform was likened to a bank, storing and securing data privately.
Samsung president Young Sohn compared the company’s health efforts to a car dashboard for the human body, aimed at giving consumers an overall picture of their wellbeing. Simband and SAMI are both open and available to developers, and Samsung has paired with early partners like PhysIQ and UCSF to develop new wearable hardware. Developers will be given access to the SAMI SDK later this year.
The company also announced a $50 million digital health challenge aimed at creating new sensors and new health-related technology.
At Samsung’s “Voice of the Body” event today, the company announced SIMBAND, a modular reference platform for wearable health sensors that it hopes will inspire a new generation of fitness products. The prototype device you see above has a multitude of sensors built right into it, including an optical light sensor that can detect the variation of light absorption through the skin in order to come up with your pulse and other data. There’s even an ECG sensor integrated into the watchband so that when you touch the clasp, an electrical route is completed.
Samsung says SIMBAND is completely multimodal — the optical, electrical and physical components can be swapped out, and it’s entirely built for customization. The company also wanted to drive home that SIMBAND is designed to be very power efficient (it has a new shuttle battery) while not taking up a lot of space — the prototype watchface on stage is only about half the size of an SD card. Additionally, it has a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 28nm chip along with WiFi and Bluetooth technologies.
SIMBAND is designed as an open platform that allows developers to create new applications, and the SDK is slated to be out in the next few months. Through several open APIs that it hopes to release later this year, Samsung is looking to integrate the platform with SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions), its internal data-collection initiative that attempts to make all that fitness data accessible to other services and devices, such as S Health, your phone or perhaps your scale.
The potential for the platform goes beyond just fitness trackers. Samsung also says it’s working on a partnership with UCSF’s Digital Health Innovation Lab to see if these huge data sets can create new predictive models of health and wellness for all of us, and not just on the individual level. This way, it could provide a “truly meaningful impact on health.” UCSF has said it’s happy to partner with startups to ensure that their application or device is doing what it’s intended to do.
To cap off the event, Samsung announced the Digital Health Challenge, which is essentially a $50 million investment fund aimed at startups so that they’ll adopt Samsung’s open platforms and the latest health technologies.
Google’s run plenty of ads on UK TV over the years, but its next campaign is set to break new ground for the company and for British TV. AdAge reports that the search giant has teamed up with the UK’s Channel 4 for the first live music performance across a full ad break on UK television. On Friday night around 22:45 local time, singer Sam Smith will belt out his current single Stay With Me live from London’s iconic Roundhouse venue. Beyond Smith getting some priceless promotion for his album, Google’s using the spot to plug its Play Music download and streaming services. It’s on this very store that Google will host the live performance and exclusive tracks shortly after the ad airs. And, if you’re not a Smith fan, well at least it’s three-and-a-half minutes you didn’t have to watch tacky ads for things you don’t need.
The National Football League has yet to formally launch its new digital network, NFL Now, but there’s no doubt it will be fully prepared once it does. As such, the NFL has announced that Roku will join Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon as distribution partners for its upcoming online video service. In other words, you can expect NFL Now to be available on Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Fire TV, as well as Roku streaming boxes when it launches in August. Apps for iOS, Android, Windows devices and “select” game consoles are also set to be ready from day one.
On a slightly similar note, fast food giant McDonald’s is set to become a sponsor for NFL Now, which, perhaps, signals that big companies are liking the NFL’s fresh idea — Verizon and Gillette have been on board since the original announcement, for example. The NFL says even more sponsors and distribution partners are due to be revealed in the days leading up to the launch of NFL Now. As a refresher, NFL Now will allow football fans to build out a personalized content experience on the web, based on what their favorite teams are and the players they follow. There’s going to be original content, press conferences, productions from each league team, highlights and on-demand game replays, to mention a few things.
[Image credit: Shutterstock/Ken Durden]
Looks like a mid-week OTA is underway for the HTC One M7 on two carriers. As of today, Sprint HTC One M7 owners should start to see an update that brings in Sense 6 along with updates to Blinkfeed, the camera and gallery apps and TV app. Since you guys got KitKat back in January, you won’t see anything new in terms of Android version jumps. This update will carry along with it a version number of 5.03.651.3.
On big red, the update is similar. bringing in Sense 6.0 and the other things mentioned above. You guys will also have some W-Fi connectivity issues resolved, ISIS Wallet payments working and Emergency Alerts preloaded. For you guys, you will be looking for version number 4.10.605.3 with a baseband of 1.13.41.0421.
As for both carriers updates, you can expect it to roll out in stages and take a little time to every device out there. You can head into Settings > Phone updates > Check for updates to see if it ready for you. If it is, be sure you have over 50% battery life, a solid Wi-Fi connection and a little time to download and install it.
Apple today seeded the first build of OS X 10.9.4 to developers, approximately two weeks after releasing OS X 10.9.3 to the public. The new beta is available thorugh the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store should be listed soon in the Mac Dev Center.
It is unclear what improvements the 10.9.4 update will bring to Mavericks, but it is likely to include bug fixes and stability enhancements. It is also unclear when the beta might be released to the public.
The last Mavericks update, 10.9.3, added enhanced support for 4K displays and restored the ability to sync contacts and calendars between Mac and iOS devices over USB.
Apple is working on a multitude of prototype projects ranging from the expected to the fantastical, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who suggests the prototypes are “floating around” in the Asian supply chain. In a research note to investors, Misek describes several prototype products, including an iTV with 4K, gesture control, and voice control, along with an ARM-based touchscreen MacBook Air, and an “OLED iPhone that unfolds into an iPad mini.”
In contrast to investors’ fears, the supply chain thinks Apple’s innovation may be accelerating. With more than the usual number of prototypes floating around, here are some highlights (with the caveat that Apple might be purposely leaking to confuse competitors): 5.5″ OLED phone with 2k >660ppi display; iTV with full gesture control, voice control, and 4K; touchscreen MacBook Air running on A8; 4″ OLED iPhone that unfolds into an iPad mini; smartwatch prototypes including curved bangle-type and curved-screen; and wearables including health care appliances and payment authentication modules.
While some of these products, such as the smartwatch prototypes sound plausible, some, such as the folding iPhone, range into the almost-unbelievable.
Curved bangle-style iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton
Given Apple’s commitment to secrecy, it seems unlikely that many of these described prototype devices are available in the Asian supply chain. Apple maintains a highly exclusive design lab for its prototype products, which are likely produced in-house or in very small quantities by manufacturing partners, leaving the legitimacy of the “prototypes” discovered by Misek in question.
Apple has been rumored to be working on Apple television set prototypes and experimenting with ARM-based Macs, but it is unclear whether these type of products will make it out of the prototype stage.
Peter Misek has been frequently incorrect with his predictions, but occasionally, one of his reports is accurate. He was one of the first analysts to point towards early iPhone 6 prototypes in a 4.8-inch size, but he also incorrectly predicted several elements of the iPhone 5s and has long championed an Apple iTV that has not materialized. He has previously suggested Apple planned to merge iOS and OS X, which was not true, and he has predicted Apple signed deals to create an iTunes Netflix competitor, which did not happen.
In his research note, Misek also suggests that the iWatch is ready to go into full production and could thus be announced at any time, but this contrasts other reports that suggest the device will begin production in July. Misek believes the rumored 5.5-inch iPhone, which is said to be somewhat delayed in comparison to the 4.7-inch version, will launch at the earliest in November with a new in-cell display coating technology.
Apple has changed the number of apps displayed in the “Top Charts” section of the iOS App Store, reports TechCrunch. Rather than displaying the top 300 apps in a given section, only the top 150 apps are displayed on the Paid, Free, and Top Grossing charts.
The change was implemented several days ago and has largely gone under the radar, but it does leave half as many apps available for discovery via the Top Charts, a fairly significant change. Apple’s desktop iTunes App Store continues to display the top 200 apps.
While it is unclear why the iOS App Store is now displaying fewer apps in its Top Charts, the shift follows an earlier change to the App Store rankings designed to promote better app discovery.
According to Appsfire CEO Ouriel Ohayon, the change will not impact developers in as the bottom Top Chart listings did not have a significant impact on app downloads.
The next biggest thing in wearables is apparently something that’s already technically… wearable: A smart shirt. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich came to the Code Conference wearing a shirt laden with sensors capable of monitoring your health, such as heart rate and even emotion. These sensors can communicate with an app on your smartphone.
The shirt, which should be coming out sometime this summer, contains a battery which isn’t meant to be wet (though Krzanich insists you can take it out in the rain), so you’ll just need to make sure you take it out before you put it in the washer. The company doesn’t plan to make the actual shirts, but it’s working on building the sensors embedded within the literal wearable. This is only part of Krzanich’s vision, which includes “eyes, ears, wrist and torso,” so this likely won’t be the last we see of intriguing new use cases for wearable tech. No word on pricing or availability yet, but keep your shirt on — we’ll make sure to let you know as soon as we hear word.
When we received an invitation for a Samsung event “around health” a few weeks ago, our thoughts immediately leapt to a potential health-centered product, perhaps either a new wearable or an updated app. Since then, we’ve heard tell that there would be no such announcements at all. Which, given that the event is set up by Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Center — known more for components and partnerships — is not entirely surprising. Still, the fact that the event is now dubbed “Voice of the Body” and will be held at the SFJazz Center makes us intrigued as to what Samsung has planned for the “future of health.” Thankfully, the company has provided us a livestream of the event, which starts at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET. You can tune into it after the break.