Forbes - Feb 27, 2024

Your Move, Apple: Samsung Just Launched A Smart Ring

Your Move, Apple: Samsung Just Launched A Smart RingWorld

The new Galaxy Ring from Samsung SAMSUNG

John Koetsier Senior Contributor

Journalist, analyst, author, and speaker. | Feb 26, 2024,03:03pm EST

Samsung just launched a smart ring that will track your sleep habits as well provide a simple and unobtrusive way to monitor fitness indicators like breathing, heart rate, and motion. Now it’s time for Apple to admit that its sleep tracking hardware—AKA the Apple Watch—isn’t an ideal form factor for the task.

Samsung hasn’t released too many details about the new Galaxy Ring, just announcing it as part of an overall vision for Samsung’s health platform. But from the information provided, it clearly serves two purposes:

  1. Sleep tracking
  2. Simple fitness tracking

“As a new addition to our wearables portfolio, Galaxy Ring will offer users an all-new way to simplify everyday wellness, empowering them with greater insights and more ways to understand themselves day and night,” says Samsung VP Hon Pak, who is the head of the company’s digital health team.

“Simplify” is an important word in this statement.

As a long-time owner and user of both Apple Watches and the Oura smart ring (and the Motiv smart ring before that), I can see the need for both. The Apple Watch—or a Samsung Galaxy Watch—is an very good platform for monitoring active fitness while being able to set workouts, get more details, and handle all the other aspects of being a smart watch. But not everyone wants to wear a digital watch on their wrist, or a watch with a screen, or even a watch at all. For simple and high-level fitness tracking, a smart watch does a decent job, and it does it will just hanging from your finger. That’s only a tiny bit of weight, and it only needs to be charged every week or so, unlike a smartwatch which needs to be charged nightly or every other night.

But where a smart ring really comes into its own is sleep tracking. You can put sensors under your bed, or you can add sensors into a device that watches your body as you sleep all night, or you can wear a heavy piece of glass and metal on your wrist, but nothing is as unnoticeable and safe as a smart ring.

I’ve never worn my Apple Watch to bed at night. It’s the Ultra, so I only need to charge it every couple of days, but I would be fearful of accidentally knocking my wife in my sleep with a hard and relatively sharp-edged object. (Or myself, for that matter.) And, every other night, I do need to charge it.

A smart ring is a much better solution for sleep tracking. It’s just a better platform, period: safer, easier, long-lasting, and still fit for purpose.

“Our vision is to improve the health of billions through connected care centered around the home by connecting devices, services and people — like only Samsung can,” Pak says, with very Apple-like hubris.

But he’s right that a smart ring is an important part of the connected health and fitness solution as a lighter-weight solution to sleep and fitness tracking.

There’s much more to learn about the Galaxy Ring when it officially launches, including how long its charge lasts and exactly what sensors come on board. But Apple should take this pre-announcement as a sign to get busy building their own solution.

Or, given the patent trouble Apple is already in with the Apple Watch 9, buying Oura or another smart ring company.

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Forbes - Feb 27, 2024