Samsung sets its sights beyond smartwatches with its next wearable

Samsung’s expanding its wearable device lineup beyond Galaxy Watches. Well, at least that’s what we’ve gleaned from a bit of a “one-more-thing” esque teaser that the company closed its Galaxy Unpacked event with.

Alongside unveiling the Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Ring. Arriving at some point in the future for a to-be-announced price, it will be Samsung’s first entry into a new wearable device category. It’s likely going head-to-head with the long-standing Oura Ring and forthcoming entries into the category from the likes of Amazfit.

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Aside from the short teaser video, Samsung isn’t announcing a ton about the feature set of the Galaxy Ring, but we expect it to be a wearable focused on health metrics similar to that of the Galaxy Watch 6, which offers heart rate, blood oxygen, overall activity metrics, and even stress monitoring. It might even get some “Galaxy AI” features, considering that’s much of what is new with the Galaxy S24 lineup.

Samsung did share that the Galaxy Ring will be the smallest form factor for it to continue to provide consistent health and activity data. “With leading sensor technologies and comfortable 24/7 wear, Galaxy Ring will simplify everyday wellness for even more ways to understand yourself day and night. We will share more information as it becomes available.”

@jakekrol

Samsung just closed out #GalaxyUnpacked with a new wearable, the GalaxyRing. #samsungunpacked #ouraring

♬ original sound – Jake Krol

With a focus on health and multi-day wear, it will likely go head-to-head with the Oura Ring, a long-standing smart ring that delivers core health metrics, a readiness score to let you know to take on the day, and battery life that can last multiple days. The Oura Ring works with iOS or Android, starts at $299, and requires a monthly subscription ($5.99 monthly in the US) for many metrics and advanced features. It also comes in two styles with several colors.

Analyst Avi Greengart of Techsponential shared that he has seen the rings and noted that Samsung is planning various sizes and three finishes. I wear an Oura Ring daily, so I’d like to know if Samsung’s form factor is dramatically lighter and what else the brand chooses to focus on.

I got hands-on with prototypes of the @Samsung #GalaxyRing. I was not allowed to take pics, but it is ridiculously light, comes in sizes up to 13, and is currently planned in three finishes. Impressive engineering. Launching “later this year,” price TBD. pic.twitter.com/876pUUrwEK

— Avi Greengart (@greengart) January 17, 2024

It’s worth noting that, as of now, Samsung doesn’t put features for the Galaxy Watch lineup behind a paywall or require subscription services, so if that trend sticks and the price is potentially more affordable, it could make a big splash in the smart ring category. Galaxy Watch 6 and other recent generations are also Android only and designed to work best with other Samsung products, so I’d imagine the Galaxy Ring follows suit here.

Of course, Samsung will clarify this in all due time, as the Galaxy Ring is set to launch later in 2024. I’ll be closely following, but in a shared statement from Oura Ring CEO ​​Tom Hale, he noted: “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.”

Seemingly, they’re up for the challenge, and Samsung will likely aim to deliver the same level of reliability. It has a proven track record with health data and wearable sensors, as seen from the Galaxy Watch. The other remaining factor might be if Apple decides to expand beyond the Apple Watch with another wearable. Time will tell, though the Galaxy Ring likely won’t tell time.

Jacob Krol/TheStreet

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