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Wearables Welcomed At Mobile World Congress

BARCELONA, SPAIN – Wearable technology didn’t wear out its welcome, at least among vendors, during the Mobile World Congress.

Samsung expanded its selection, Huawei entered the market, and Sony provided more details of its first wearable product.

Highlights include a curved touchscreen display on one new Samsung model and a curved non-touch OLED display on Huawei’s first wearable product.

Here’s what was announced:

Huawei debuted the TalkBand B1, which features a removable Bluetooth earpiece to make voice calls through Bluetooth-connected Android 2.3+ and iOS 5.0+ smartphones.

The curve design bends around a wrist, has a 1.4- inch curved OLED non-touch black-and-white display, and comes with a removable 9.4-gram earpiece that delivers up to seven hours of talk time.

TalkBand B1 wirelessly tracks activity time and progress, including steps taken, miles covered and calories burned. It records the duration and quality of sleep. It also vibrates when it is more than 33 feet meters away from its synced phone. U.S. availability wasn’t announced.

Samsung unveiled two Gear smart watches and its first fitness band, said to be the industry’s first with curved touchscreen display. The products will be available in April in almost 150 countries, including the U.S.

The fitness band is the Galaxy Gear Fit, which incorporates health-monitoring features and displays smartphone notifications. It can be used as a stand-alone device, and it can also be connected via Bluetooth to 20 Galaxy devices. It also incorporates wireless ANT+ technology.

The Fit features 1.84-inch curved Super AMOLED 432 by 128 touchscreen, changeable strap, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, IP67 dust and water resistance, heart-rate monitor, pedometer, stopwatch and timer. It also connects via Bluetooth to Galaxy devices to display notifications and caller ID, and reject calls.

The two next-generation Gear smart watches are the company’s first wearable devices incorporating proprietary Tizen OS, which is used in a handful of Samsung smartphones outside the U.S.

Like their predecessor, the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo feature embedded speaker and mic to place voice calls through a Bluetooth-connected Galaxy phone. This time, the speaker and microphone (and camera in the case of the Gear 2) are embedded into bezels instead of in the watch bands so users can swap bands. The Gear 2 Neo lacks camera.

The Gear and Gear 2 Neo also incorporate new stand-alone features such as embedded MP3 player and IR transmitter to control TVs and set-top boxes. The new models also add faster processor and longer battery life. Like before, both display caller ID information, messages and other notifications, and both download apps like before.

Both come with 1.63-inch 320 by 320 Super AMOLED display, 1GHz dual-core processor, 2-megapixel autofocus camera in the Gear 2, Bluetooth 4.0, 512MB RAM, 4GB memory, heart-rate sensor and pedometer.

Sony’s SmartBand SWR10, previewed at International CES, communicates via Bluetooth with an Android Lifelog app to offer fitness tracking, but the app itself also lets users log places visited, music played, games played, and books read for presentation on a visual interface. The app also helps users set activity goals.

Like a smart watch, it vibrates when calls, messages, Facebook Likes or tweets are received. It can also be used to play, pause and skip tracks in a Sony phone’s Walkman app by pressing the button and tapping the band.