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In the phrase "On devices sporting the needed sensor, heart activity can be sampled," the word "sporting" obviously means "equipped." But in which cases the word "sporting" could substitute "equipped"?

  • heart activity can be sampled??Who wrote that? to sport something can mean to feature it. Probably a botched translation. – Lambie Dec 26 '19 at 22:08
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When "sporting" is substituted for "equipped," I see it most often used in product advertisements or reviews. You might see something like "Renault's latest car model is sporting a heated steering wheel" as that would be an uncommon and notable feature. However, it would be highly unlikely that someone would write "Renault's latest car model is sporting a steering wheel" even though it's technically true.

Some examples:

  • Samsung's Galaxy A7, sporting a three camera setup at the back...
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2, sporting a 998cc inline-four-cylinder and the first supercharger on a production motorcycle...
  • Raspberry Pi 4 vs Raspberry Pi 3, The new model sports four USB ports, with two of them sporting USB 3.0. This is a notable upgrade over the last model, which only featured four USB 2.0 ports.

In the case of a heartbeat sensor, that is still something that is uncommon on a phone, and not always present on a smart watch. It's much more common on a fitness watch but it's still feature you would have to specifically look for on any given model.

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I'm completely convinced that the word "sporting" is a typographical error, and it should be supporting

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  • Sporting can mean wearing (some distinctive item of dress), so it could conceivably mean displaying here, but it seems unlikely unless the rest of the passage is written in a semi-humorous style. – Kate Bunting Dec 26 '19 at 15:35
  • The text is contained on the Wikipedia page for Wear OS, which is an operating system for smart watches and other 'wearables'. I found a medical paper in Clinician Reviews entitled 'Sporting an Old Lesion'. – Michael Harvey Dec 26 '19 at 17:52

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