A new set of Samsung Galaxy Buds sporting biometric sensors appears to be works for 2022. According to a recently-earned patent, Samsung might outfit a future pair of wireless earbuds with a heart rate monitor and blood oxygen (SpO2) reader.
In the patent (opens in new tab), shared by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), Samsung plots an "audio output device" capable of collecting health data. Unlike this year's Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, these proposed headphones would be able to read metrics more regularly read by a smartwatch, like your heart rate and SpO2 levels.
LetsGoDigital suggests the patented earbuds will arrive next August and be called the Galaxy Buds Live 2, a second-generation pair of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Those bean-shaped buds were rumored to get fitness-tracking features, but no such tools materialized at launch.
It's also possible the patent applies to the Galaxy Buds Pro 2, a follow up to the original Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro that debuted at the start of 2021. Samsung has launched earbuds during CES before, so we could perhaps see a pair with fitness tracking arrive amid CES 2022 next month.
We should note note of the best workout headphones and best running headphones already offer built-in, activity-tracking features. Samsung wouldn't be the first to bring ear-based metrics to market. The Amazfit Powerbuds Pro practically double a fitness tracker, while the Jabra Elite 75t Active incorporate an accelerometer for run tracking.
Apple has yet to bring in-ear fitness tracking features to the AirPods lineup, though some kind of "sensor fusion" for AirPods was teased earlier this year in an executive interview. We liked the AirPods 3 for running, but still rely on the Apple Watch 7 to collect the same metrics the new Galaxy Buds might.
Of course, the Apple Watch can show you a lot more about your health than a pair of earbuds (as can the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and any of the best Samsung watches) but there's certainly convenience to have metrics gathered from your ears. As long as you don't require a quick view of you data mid-workout, or care about more than your heart rate/SpO2 readings, you could leave home with one less device.
When it comes to what company makes the best wireless earbuds overall, Samsung could prevail with an option that replaces your activity band or smartwatch. But the added sensors also pose potential problems. The patent addresses uniquely-shaped ears and uncomfortable heft as issues Samsung must consider. We imagine Apple would face similar hurdles with its first attempt at fitness-tracking AirPods.