Among wearable technology, smartwatches have long been at the top. While smart rings have been on the outskirts, Samsung teased the Galaxy Ring at the end of its Unpacked event earlier this week. In my opinion, it seems like the company is eager to disrupt the current state of the wearable industry.
Given that Samsung merely displayed a glittering ring with a couple of visible sensors on the inside of the band, that might come out as exaggerated. Onstage, hardly much was revealed. However, according to an email from Samsung spokesperson Amber Reaver, the ring is designed to “empower more people to manage their health with a comprehensive yet simplified approach to everyday wellness at home.”
It was The compact form factor is a result of the need for constant and accurate tracking data over an extended period of time. With “leading sensor technologies” and all-day comfort guaranteed, the ring is sure to be a hit, according to Reaver.
An analyst named Avi Greengart made note of the device’s portability, three different finishes, size range (up to 13), and impending release later this year after seeing a prototype at Unpacked. Oura is very aware of how similar it sounds to the Oura Ring. Oura CEO Tom Hale delivered this unprompted statement to The Verge shortly after the Galaxy Ring was announced:
“With new features released regularly, Oura has the strongest IP portfolio — in both hardware and software — for the smart ring form factor, with 100 granted patents, 270 pending patent applications, and 130+ registered trademarks. New players entering the space is validation for the category and drives us to aim higher to serve our members and community.”
Hale is correct. Oura will soon face stiff competition from a plethora of new entrants, which serves as a kind of validation. At CES last week, I spotted more smart rings than in years before, so I made the case that 2024 would be their year. On the other hand, a swarm of smaller businesses jumping on a trend is easy to ignore.
It’s one thing for a tech giant like Samsung to acknowledge that this design format has potential. After giving it some thought, you can understand why. Instead than wearing a bulky smartwatch, a smart ring can discreetly monitor your sleep patterns.
(Over the past two years, Samsung has also improved its sleep tracking capabilities.) When it comes to monitoring your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, the back of your finger is even more precise than your wrist.
Many readers have expressed a desire for more basic trackers that do not function as phone extensions, especially in light of the increasing popularity of smartwatches. Considering Apple’s stranglehold on the smartwatch industry, it’s prudent for Samsung to go for a younger form factor with a single significant, albeit relatively small, competitor.
Given the lack of information, it is difficult to determine Samsung’s perspective on the Galaxy Ring in relation to its broader wearable product line. Having said that, I could totally see it as a Galaxy Watch attachment. For instance, the Amazfit Helio is a versatile smart ring that can be worn alone or synced with the company’s current smartwatch lineup.
The selling point is that you won’t have to worry about losing out on sleep tracking as you can just charge your smartwatch when it’s time to sleep. That makes perfect sense for Samsung as well, what with the company’s ability to put together a bargain wearable bundle. (Including a Pixel Watch with Pixel phones was a good enough move for Google.)
Also, Oura would have a considerably tougher difficulty competing in this sector. To combine data from many smartwatches—including the Oura Ring—you’ll need a third party app, such as Apple Health or Google Health.
This results in your phone being overrun by applications. The ability to access all of your health data via the Samsung Health app is a major perk of owning a Galaxy phone, Watch, and Ring—even if you’re not a fan of ecosystem lock-in.
If Samsung is successful, other major corporations would surely follow. If that’s the case, smart rings might not be seen as independent devices as much as they are as complements to other electronic devices. Once the Galaxy Ring is supposedly released later this year, we’ll have to watch how everything turns out. Personally, though, I’m relieved to see action in a category that’s lagged behind for way too long.
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