First off, let me say Happy New Year to one and all! Thanks for joining me for the start of what will surely be another weird and stupid year in technology. As if to add credence to that statement, earlier this week, Samsung offered a sneak peek at some of the new products it will be exhibiting at the upcoming CES 2016. Among them, a “smart belt.” That is not a typo.
The WELT is DUMB
Officially referred to in Samsung’s literature as a “smart wearable healthcare belt,” the WELT (no acronym definition provided) looks like a perfectly normal belt, but is secretly super stupid and unnecessary. According to Samsung, the device can measure the user’s waist size (in your face, normal belts!) and eating habits, as well as tabulating the number of steps taken in a day and the amount of time spent sitting. This data is then analyzed through an accompanying mobile device app that makes recommendations for better health. Presumably, the selling point here is that the WELT does the same thing FitBits and countless other devices already do, but in a belt. So… yeah.
Another device Samsung will unveil to the world at CES is Rink, a handheld (or hand-worn, it’s not exactly clear—though it’s possible it’s both) motion controller for their Gear virtual reality headsets. Essentially, Rink gives users Nintendo Wii-esque control of their virtual world. Playing VR tennis? Rink will make it feel like you’ve actually got a racket in your hand as you flail away madly and eventually put your fist through a wall.
Samsung’s final CES 2016 offering is a kind of, sort of Bluetooth-like device, the purpose of which is not particularly well-defined. Basically, it’s a little strap thing that connects to a smartphone or smart watch and allows the user to hear noises, sounds, and alerts from the connected device by touching a finger to his or her ear like a Secret Service agent. It’s hard to see how that’s an improvement from a standard Bluetooth earpiece, although I suppose it’s better for people to think you’re a weirdo who won’t stop fussing with his ear than a d-bag who wears his Bluetooth all the time.