New cellphone coaches, monitors heart rate

Adidas and Samsung have teamed up for a new twist in training — a mobile phone that can coach.

The companies announced Thursday a mobile phone that works with Adidas shoes and apparel to plan, track and motivate users in training.

The device directs and motivates users during workouts by combining a mobile phone, heart rate monitor, stride sensor, MP3 player and the voice of an electronic "personal coach."

MiCoach hits retail stores in Europe this month and will roll out in the United States in 2009. It will cost $304 to $608 in Europe, depending on the service plan users select. U.S. pricing has not been set.

"This is the most advanced coaching system that is out there," said Andrea Corso, spokeswoman for Portland-based Adidas U.S.

The new Adidas-Samsung collaboration is the latest of several tech-sport partnerships. Most comparable is Nike and Apple's Nike+, a wireless system that allows Nike running shoes embedded with a sensor to communicate with Apple's iPod Nano. An update this week allows users to plug their iPods into gym equipment and track their training there as well.

MiCoach is a bit more expansive because it includes a mobile phone and a camera. It also helps runners set goals and then reach them by monitoring their heart rates and telling them when to slow down or speed up to meet a goal for distance, fitness or calorie burn.

"This about getting to the next level, whether that is running a mile or running a marathon," Corso said.

Adidas will offer equipment and clothing for runners to attach miCoach and the heart monitor to themselves. The sensor can be attached to any shoe.

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