LG takes another stab at fitness with the Life Band Touch

With fitness technology and wearables still on-trend at CES 2014, LG announced its latest activity tracker, the Life Band Touch. The little black bracelet promises a touchscreen interface and comprehensive readings of both calorie output and heart rate tracking.

The Korean manufacturer’s first brush with fitness technology came this time last year, when it showed off the LG Smart Activity Tracker during CES 2013. While many media outlets couldn’t ignore the fitness band’s similarities to the Nike Fuelband — particularly the dotted display and minimalist design — it seemed like the system had enough interesting features, like that aforementioned touchscreen, to give LG some traction in the space. However, despite a rough release date for mid-2013, the Smart Activity Tracker never made it past the prototype stage.

The Life Band Touch definitely shows its roots: a photo from LG’s CES 2014 floor display shows the same matte black wristband with minimal coloring that is still very Nike-like. But that aside, perhaps the coolest part about the activity tracker isn’t really the band itself, but its “Heart Rate Earphones,” which sneakily check a user’s pulse through blood flow in the ear while pumping out the tunes. If it works as advertised, those earphones alone could be nifty enough to get some attention, along with LG’s promised smartphone apps.

All in all, the Life Band Touch appears to be a formidable competitor in the swelling fitness tracker space, despite its obvious design cues from the competition. But this one will have to make it beyond the CES floor if LG wants to wiggle into the fitness and lifestyle market before it’s too late.