What time is it? It's fitness time!

6th March 2017
Alice Matthews

At last week's Mobile World Conference 2017 in Barcelona, the Huawei Watch 2 was officially introduced to the world. Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu announced the company’s newest smartwatch following the introduction of the Huawei P10 smartphone. The announcements took place Sunday evening and were broadcast live around the world. The Watch 2 will supplant the original Huawei Watch, which was introduced at the same event two years earlier. 

Huawei reports the new device will inherit many design features from its predecessor, but will also deliver 'new innovations in every category to better empower users’ spirit of exploration and help them enjoy and active lifestyle.'

A new focus on fitness monitoring and the introduction of comprehensive training reports are key differentiators between the Watch 2 and its predecessor. To facilitate these advances, Huawei collaborated with Firstbeat, a leading provider of heartbeat analytics for elite sports and health, fitness, and lifestyle applications. Huawei describes the result as a 'high specification fitness device that uses multiple sensors with advanced algorithms to provide fitness solutions and make working out more efficient and effective.'

In addition to licencing analytics for consumer products, Firstbeat has also developed a specialised sports monitoring platform that is used by over 600 professional sports teams around the world to optimise performance, reduce injuries and fast-track player development. Firstbeat's professional sports clients include roughly half of the teams competing in the NHL and teams playing in the NFL, NBA and every major European soccer league.

The Huawei Watch 2 is the second device from the Chinese company to provide physiological insights derived from Firstbeat analytics capabilities. Previous collaboration between the two companies resulted in the Huawei Fit, which targeted fitness enthusiasts and was launched Q3 2016.

An overview of Firstbeat powered features in the Huawei Watch 2:
Automatic VO2max fitness level detection: this goto metric for physiologists and exercise scientists defines your personal fitness level by revealing your body’s ability to utilise oxygen. Traditionally available through laboratory testing, Firstbeat estimates VO2max fitness levels using a combination of speed and heartbeat data obtained during running and walking activities. You are able to see your current fitness level, compare it to other people of the same age and gender, and evaluate whether you are currently fit enough to gain health benefits, or if there is room to improve. It also holds the key to personalising training prescriptions, and watching your VO2max fitness level change over time can be rewarding and serve as a powerful motivator for improvement.

Training Effect is one of Firstbeat’s most popular contributions to the world of fitness wearables. It reveals in real time the physiological impact your workout will have on your aerobic VO2max fitness level. The inclusion of Training Effect allows the Watch 2 to tell whether your workout is maintaining or improving your current fitness level. It can even reveal when you are pushing too hard and increasing your risk of injury or overtraining before it’s too late.

To ensure a healthy and balanced approach to training, the Watch 2 offers Firstbeat’s recovery time feature which utilises a countdown timer to display the number of hours remaining before your body is ready for the next hard, fitness improving, type workout. The countdown timer updates at the completion of each training session based on the Training Effect score achieved during the session, the amount of time remaining on the countdown timer at the start of the session, and additional data collected along the way. Following recovery time guidance ensures that you get the maximum benefit from your workouts.

In addition to comprehensive training reports in the form of VO2max fitness level detection, Training Effect, and Recovery Time, along with traditional metrics, the Watch 2 also includes real-time coaching and adaptive running training plans designed to help enable you to achieve your targets for each session and your long-term training goals. The Watch 2 also utilises Firstbeat’s oxygen-based energy expenditure calculation to provide accurate calorie counts throughout the day, regardless of your activities.

Two variants will be available; the Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic.

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