Fully Charged: SMS Audio debuts heart rate-sensing earbuds, Tom Hanks’ surprising iPad app, and Samsung’s big smart home acquisition

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SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones

Intel and SMS Audio team for biometric earbuds

50 Cent’s SMS Audio announced yesterday that it will release biometric, heart rate-sensing earbuds this autumn in collaboration with Intel, which first premiered the tech back at CES this year. The BioSport In-Ear Headphones pull power straight from the standard headphone jack, meaning you don’t need to charge anything before use; they’re effectively plug-and-play.

Granted, you’ll need the RunKeeper app at launch to actually access the heart rate data, although additional apps will be supported over time. The earbuds are also sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating, and come with three sizes of ear gels and hooks for optimum comfort. No word on price just yet, but multiple colour options will launch in Q4.

[Source: Intel]

READ MORE: My Gadget Life - 50 Cent

Tom Hanks made a typewriter app for iPad

Hanx Writer

Tom Hanks: actor, seemingly all-around good guy, and productivity app maker? That’s the surprising news this week following yesterday’s launch of Hanx Writer for iPad.

Published by Hitcents, the app was designed under the direction of Hanks, who is an avid fan of classic typewriters and once had a collection of 200 such machines. The free app recreates the look of typewriter keys and the loud sound effects, and offers additional virtual typewriters to wield via in-app purchases.

“I suppose some people who get the app may just be looking for a different sound, but really it's for people searching for a more personalized experience when writing on an iPad,” said Hanks to USA Today, before charmingly adding, "There's also the opportunity here to take your iPad to a coffee house and be really obnoxious with all the clickety-clacking.”

[Source: USA Today via The Verge]

READ MORE: Tom Hanks turns video game developer with Electric City

Samsung acquires SmartThings for US$200 million


Samsung made a big splash in the smart home market on Thursday by purchasing SmartThings, a company that specializes in connected home controllers that allow appliances and devices using different standards to communicate with each other. SmartThings began as a Kickstarter success story before raising millions more in funding, and Recode pegs the Samsung acquisition at US$200 million (about £120 million).

Despite now being under a rather large corporate umbrella, SmartThings says it will continue to run independently and maintain its open platform for taming various Internet of Things devices. Even so, this gives Samsung a suddenly large stake in the burgeoning smart home field, just weeks after joining Nest and others to form the Thread standard for such things.

[Sources: SmartThingsRecode]

READ MORE: Project - make your house a smart home of the future