50 Cent Betting Heart-Monitoring Headphones Will Be a Hit

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With a just-inked partnership roughly reminiscent of Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats, the rapper 50 Cent has teamed with hardware giant Intel for a line of headphones touting fitness-tracking tech.

The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones -- as the forthcoming product is named -- feature a heart-rate monitor and can sync with apps to track workout pace, distance, elevation, calorie burn and more, the companies said.

The earbuds themselves are sweat and water-resistant, and feature an “energy-harvesting audio jack” so that no charge is required.

Headphones will be available in three sizes and four colors, with pricing to be announced closer to their launch in the fourth quarter, according to a press release.

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While the design comprises circuitry and software initially showcased by Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, none of its famed chips are housed inside, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The deal marks a loud foray into the white-hot wearables space by SMS Audio, a headphone company founded by 50 Cent in 2011. SMS, which stands for “studio mastered sound,” also counts Knicks baller Carmelo Anthony and rap producer Timbaland as investors. 

However, conceptually speaking, biometric earbuds are nothing new. As far back as 2008, Apple filed a patent for a headphone system that could track temperature, perspiration and heart rate -- and that, in one embodiment, could even be controlled with head gestures.

As for reports that SMS -- like Beats before it -- could get scooped up in an acquisition by a major tech company like Intel, 50 Cent is open to the prospect. “For all companies, the right acquisition makes sense,” he told the Journal just five days before the collaboration was announced.

Related: Apple Looking to Jump Head First Into Wearables with Multi-Sensor Smartwatch

Edition: July 2017

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