Wearable Tech World Feature Article
August 20, 2014

Intel and SMS Audio Address the Fitness Audio Market

The acquisition of Beats Electronic by Apple earlier this year made one hip hop star very rich, and not to be outdone, another tech company is partnering with yet another famous name in the genre to sell a new line of headphones. At first glance it looks like another case of keeping up with the Joneses, but further examination reveals the collaboration between Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's SMS Audio and Intel is going after a demographic that makes up 66 percent of primary user case for in-ear headphones, people that exercise.

A quick survey of people that work out usually reveals the vast majority of them are using in-ear headphones. These type of headphones allow the user free range of motion while staying in place through the most rigorous exercise routine. Looking at Mr. 50 Cent's physique it is safe to assume he spends a considerable amount of time in the gym, which probably led him to get into this particular market.

According to market data Intel and SMS provided, the headphone market increased by 11 percent to $2.3 billion in 2013, with in-ear style headphones comprising 51 percent of those sales. As previously mentioned the number goes all the way up to two thirds for people that exercise, and for the 18-34 year old demographic it increases to 75 percent.

The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel not only delivers sound, but it is part of a smart exercise solution that allows the user to gather actionable data on fitness progress. By combining the latest in fitness-monitoring biometric technology with audio, BioSport can differentiate itself from existing headphones in the market place.

"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, "said Brian M. Nohe, president of SMS Audio.

The headphones plug in directly to a smartphone and it also powers the biometric monitoring capabilities of the unit without additional power source. It is IPX4 rated for protection against sweat and water, ensuring the headphones will continue operating as long as you don't go swimming in them. An IP rating is the ingress protection of the equipment, and the number signifies the degree of protection it offers. An IPX4 product is protected against splashing water from any angle.

"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," said Michael Bell, corporate vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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