Saturday, March 08, 2008

Adidas & Samsung: MiCoach


Athletes can wear a personal trainer thanks to miCoach, a new real-time training system from adidas AG and Samsung Electronics.

Two years in the making, the miCoach system, also called the Samsung F110, contains five components that provide personalized audio feedback: the miCoach Samsung phone; a heart rate monitor; a stride sensor chip that clips onto sneaker laces (adidas footware); compatible adidas apparel; and a corresponding miCoach Web site where users can sync their results from miCoach and create different plans to reach goals.

miCoach is available throughout Europe in adidas and Samsung stores as well as select retail partners starting in mid-March but is not expected to hit the U.S. until next year. Pricing for the miCoach device in the U.S. has not yet been announced.

The product guides users through an initial run to determine fitness levels. With the help of information from professional sports trainers, miCoach creates a customized training plan. The device also lets users download 4 gigs of music and can customize playlists to match individual stride rates. Users are also given audio cues to keep on pace and target heart rate zones for the duration of a run, and pace, distance, calories are also provided. A stride calibration sensor matches mileage that is recorded on the phone to the actual distance that was run.

A SIM card is not needed to use miCoach phone as a sports device. Once a user signs up, prompts are provided to download the miCoach Synchronizer, the desktop software necessary to transfer running data from the miCoach phone to the miCoach Web site. miCoach uses Windows Media Player and users will need WMP v11 or later to work with the device. If users want to hear iTunes, they can transfer songs, except those actually purchased on iTunes, onto WMP.

While miCoach sounds futuristic, it is giving the Nike+iPod Sports Kit a run for its money. That product, introduced to the market two years ago, also records pace information and calories burned, and also has a sensor embedded in sneakers which connect to an iPod that can sync the information into the Nike Website. Although wears can hear music from their iPods, this product does not have a phone.
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