Samsung debuts a ‘smart ring’ with health-tracking features — its first foray into the product category

Samsung debuts a ‘smart ring’ with health-tracking features — its first foray into the product category
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Samsung debuts a ‘smart ring’ with health-tracking features — its first foray into the product category

BARCELONA, Spain — According to a top executive speaking to CNBC, Samsung’s latest wearable, the Galaxy Ring, is set to debut with advanced health-tracking capabilities, including heart rate and sleep monitoring, alongside an innovative feature providing users with a readiness score for the day.

In an expansive interview, Hon Pak, the head of Samsung Electronics’ digital health team, delved into the company’s venture into the ring product category, considerations for introducing a subscription model for the Samsung Health app, and his vision for an artificial intelligence “coach.”

The Galaxy Ring was initially teased by Samsung in January during the unveiling of the S24 smartphone. This marks the South Korean tech giant’s inaugural showcase of the device at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, commencing on Monday.

Key features of the Samsung Galaxy Ring

Pak revealed that the ring, equipped with various sensors, will offer insights into heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep movement, and the duration it takes for an individual to fall asleep after getting into bed.

Enhanced Health Monitoring and Vitality Scoring

Furthermore, he indicated that the ring will provide users with a “vitality score,” compiling data on both physical and mental readiness to gauge productivity levels effectively.

All this information will be seamlessly accessible through the Samsung Health app.

Release Timeline and Potential Features

The anticipated release of the ring is slated for this year; however, Pak refrained from specifying a timeline or pricing details.

Moreover, Pak mentioned the company’s contemplation of integrating a feature enabling contactless payments, akin to smartphones.

“We have a whole team dedicated to exploring this,” Pak stated. “But beyond health, we’re undoubtedly exploring multiple use cases for the Ring.”

Samsung debuts a ‘smart ring’ with health-tracking features — its first foray into the product category
Samsung debuts a ‘smart ring’ with health-tracking features — its first foray into the product category

Advancements in Health Monitoring

Discussing future prospects, Pak revealed Samsung’s ongoing efforts toward noninvasive glucose monitoring and blood pressure sensing via wearable devices.

Acknowledging the progress made, Pak noted, “We still have some ground to cover,” particularly in noninvasive glucose monitoring, which presently involves skin-piercing devices.

Strategic Positioning within the Samsung Ecosystem

Samsung aims to bolster its presence in the health sector leveraging an array of devices developed over the years.

In addition to smartphones and smartwatches, the Galaxy Ring marks Samsung’s latest entrant into the health tech landscape. The decision to venture into the “smart ring” domain stems from customer feedback.

“Our customers expressed a desire for choice,” Pak emphasized. “Some prefer wearing both the watch and the ring to maximize benefits, while others seek simplicity.”

Diversified Health Insights and Future Innovations

Pak affirmed that wearing both the smartwatch and the Ring simultaneously will provide users with diverse health insights.

While Samsung enters the smart ring market, it’s worth noting that other companies like Oura have already introduced similar products.

Evolution of Smartphone Sensors

Earlier iterations of Samsung’s flagship smartphones, like the S7, incorporated sensors for tracking metrics such as heart rate. However, these sensors have been phased out, particularly with the availability of smartwatches offering comparable features.

Nonetheless, Pak didn’t dismiss the possibility of future smartphones incorporating health sensors. He emphasized the ubiquity of mobile devices, suggesting potential reasons for integrating sensors directly into them.

AI Integration in Health Services

Regarding AI integration, Pak outlined its pivotal role in Samsung’s health services. AI’s capacity to analyze the vast amounts of data gathered by these devices is seen as crucial in providing deeper health insights. Pak envisions AI-powered digital assistants offering personalized health advice and behavior modification strategies.

Role of Large Language Models

In this context, Pak highlighted the significance of large language models, such as those underpinning chatbots, in delivering enhanced insights and personalization opportunities.

Potential Involvement of Bixby

The potential involvement of Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant, was also discussed. Pak suggested that while Bixby, especially when combined with large language models, could revolutionize the human-computer interface, it’s not the sole solution being considered.

Subscription Service Consideration

Additionally, Pak mentioned the company’s contemplation of introducing a subscription service for the Samsung Health app. However, he emphasized the necessity of enhancing the app’s capabilities and insights before implementing such a model, suggesting that AI assistants could aid in this process.

Pak stressed the importance of providing comprehensive and end-to-end health insights to justify a subscription-based service.


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