Intel and SMS Audio have teamed up to create a new category of “fitness wearables,” or smart headphones with sensors that can measure your heart rate. The audio headphones will carry the lifestyle brand of entertainer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
The wearables combine technology, fitness metrics, and fashion design in a fusion that reflects the corporate strategy of Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel, as outlined in his speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Intel is the world’s biggest maker of chips, but it will design its own systems in this case to stoke demand for wearables and the internet of things, or the use of computer and communications technology in everyday things.
Intel and SMS Audio believe they will have a broad market consisting of “ultra marathoners,” “aspirational exercisers,” and everyone in between. Intel is on a mission to outdo rivals like Apple and Samsung in establishing a technology brand that defines cool for a new generation of consumers.
“Intel is focused on driving innovation in the wearable technology segment by partnering with lifestyle brands like SMS Audio that complement our technology and design expertise,” said Michael Bell, corporate vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel. “With SMS Audio, we will bring smart headphones to market that eliminate the inconvenience of add-on devices with an integrated, one-device fitness accessory offering high-end style and premier sound quality for an exceptional fitness experience. This is a prime example of Intel driving innovation in wearable devices while being a forerunner in merging lifestyle and technology.”
The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel will debut later this year. The headphones will be able to measure your heart rate whenever you are wearing them. That will allow you to record your heart rate while you’re working out, walking, or even sleeping. By logging all of this data, Intel and SMS Audio can figure out your exercise patterns and figure out where you are falling short. It can then offer fitness advice that will get you working a little bit harder every day.
The device, which will deliver pulse-pounding audio in addition to the fitness metrics, is first to appear in Intel’s product roadmap since the company announced the fitness initiative in January. SMS Audio also recently unveiled its SMS Audio Sport Collection devices. SMS Audio is a global headphone and accessories brand aimed at providing high-quality sound, comfort, and fashion.
“The wearable technology collaboration between SMS Audio and Intel elevates our capability to bring smart exercise to consumers,” said Brian Nohe, president of SMS Audio. “With the introduction of the SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel, we’re now the first to provide this level of integrated, seamless and helpful biometric information to inspire customers to advance their fitness experiences.”
The companies say that the headphones will deliver high-end audio quality. They will integrate biometric sensors in a custom heart-rate monitor. They say they have patented an “ear-hook design” that makes the headphones comfortable even as an energy-harvesting audio jack removes the need for extra batteries or chargers.
The device has a built-in optical sensor that continuously measures heart rate during intense exercise, states of relaxation and every moment in between – while dynamically removing noise signals caused by body motion and ambient light. This means that athletes won’t have to wear less comfortable chest strap style monitors to track their fitness. The headphones will be sweat and water-resistant. And they will synchronize with the RunKeeper step-tracking app. The headphones will also come with a tangle-free cord, an in-line microphone, neoprene carrying case, and three sizes of ear gels and hooks.
They will be available in the fourth quarter. Pricing will be revealed later.