New mobile phones

New mobile phones announcements

Samsung Adidas F110 miCoach personal trainer phone

Many of us spend a fortune on gym membership only to join the gang of guilty no-shows after just a few sessions. So is a mere mobile phone capable of putting you on the fast track to personal fitness – and keeping you there?

Samsung and Adidas think so. They’ve teamed up to produce the miCoach mobile phone and integrated personal coaching system. It’s a sophisticated attempt at putting a virtual personal trainer in your phone, offering tailored training regimes to suit your fitness levels and goals.

Other manufacturers have attempted to combine a handset with a training device, but the Samsung and Adidas combo is way ahead of the field. The full miCoach package comes with a heart-rate monitor and a stride sensor that connect wirelessly to the phone. On-board software lets you to create a wide range of workouts, while audio instructions provide updates and training advice during runs. A quick couple of taps on the phone screen will also give you instant bulletins on how you’re doing.

The phone’s music player is woven into the fabric of the miCoach training software too. You can listen to tracks while you’re running, and with a quick button press get one of your pre-chosen motivational songs when you need a boost.

By hooking up the phone to a PC, you can also sync the miCoach phone’s training data with the miCoach website. You can set training goals, download your own personalised training schedule, and monitor your progress on a comprehensive display.

Unlike other training-music combos, such as the Nike+ iPod package, the miCoach has the natural advantage of mobile phone functionality. Samsung hasn’t gone for the most hi-tech handset for this collaboration, offering quad-band GSM GPRS/Edge connectivity rather than 3G.

The miCoach’s sliderphone design is attractively tactile, with a textured rubber-feel back and clever roughened navigation button panel that provides suitable purchase for sweaty fingers. Grooves separate the largish buttons to facilitate easy texting. It has a reasonable sized 2in, 262,000-colour display, but its modest 176 x 220 resolution really limits the graphical performance. The miCoach’s predominantly monochrome user interface comes across as stylish, nonetheless.

The Adidas branding is subtly applied at the bottom of the screen – just enough for others to clock your phone’s sporting pedigree. The navpad is familiar stuff, with quick keys in all directions, including an additional “My menu” list of personalised shortcuts, plus soft-menu keys below the display. Dedicated miCoach and music player buttons flank the navpad, providing quick access to this phone’s main attractions.

At 101.5 x 45 x 14.5mm, the miCoach isn’t particularly small, but its 80g weight makes it feel light in the hand – and in the Adidas-branded armband holder that comes with the device.

The miCoach user interface is nicely thought out. Tapping the runner button on the front slips you into the application, where you’re presented with a carousel of six icons representing the coaching system’s various elements.

You can load in vital statistics (age, weight, etc.) and then try an assessment run to judge your fitness level. Slip on the Adidas heart rate monitor, connect the running shoe stride sensor – both are automatically detected by the phone – plug in the supplied earphones for a running commentary or tune listening, and you’re ready to go.

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