Rumors of Samsung making its own smart ring to rival the Ouras of this world have been circling since last year. There was even talk of a possible teaser at last week’s Galaxy Unpacked event where we got our first look at the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Fold 5, though this ultimately didn’t end up happening.
Now, a new report in Korean publication The Elec reveals that Samsung is close to making a decision about whether to mass-produce its smart ring after recently testing a prototype. The report states that a preliminary development review will be delivered to Samsung's mobile chief TM Roh next month, and if signed off, “product development can begin in earnest” (machine translation).
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can expect to have one on your finger this year. And, depending on what Samsung expects from the device, next year might be a push as well.
The Elec estimates the product development phase could take seven to eight months, which means March or April 2024. That plausibly could indicate at least a teaser alongside the Samsung Galaxy S24 early next year, but it all depends on what the company is expecting from the wearable.
If it has health functions like the Galaxy Watch that require medical approval, then we might be looking at January or February 2025, according to one industry official.
“To apply for medical device certification, the product must be developed to a level that can receive radio wave certification,” the official said (again, a machine translation). “Even if development is completed around July, it will take an additional ten to 12 months to obtain medical device approval.”
While Samsung could go for a basic wellness device that doesn’t require this additional approval, it doesn’t feel likely. Not only has the company actively been chasing the health benefits of wearables with features like blood pressure monitoring and AFib detection, but one of the big advantages of a theoretical Galaxy Ring is that its sensors could be more effective than those on smartwatches.
That’s because a ring, by its nature, is held much closer to the skin than a loose-fitting smartwatch, which makes reading blood flow more consistent. The flip side of that is that the blood vessels in the finger are far smaller than the ones on the wrist, which presents its own challenges.
Whatever Samsung decides to do, a smart ring has a couple of other key advantages over the smartwatch. For one thing, it’s a lot more subtle, hiding the tech in plain sight with no screen to speak of. Even the best-looking smartwatches won’t be mistaken for a Rolex or an Omega.
This lack of a screen also means that battery life can be measured in days rather than hours, which makes it easier to put on and forget.
These points add up to a less techy wearable, which has a certain appeal. As Kate Kozuch wrote in our four-star Oura Ring Generation 3 review: “I only remember I’m wearing it when I want to show it off or it needs to charge.”
She did, however, mention that the fitting process is a pain, and that’s another hurdle that Samsung will have to overcome if it wants mainstream adoption of the still theoretical Galaxy Ring, if and when it launches.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.
Fitment solution is pretty simple, send a set of plastic sizers that are exact molds of the ring to retailers that will Cary it and size them.Reply
For those ordering online they can go into select partner stores or order (say $3?) said sizing kit.
Is that all a pain? Sure but so is buying a regular ring. If they don't want to loose thousands in returns for wrong sizes that's what they need to do and have a firm no return policy.
I love my wrist band which checks steps, miles, Kcal, temp, heart rate, pressure, O2 and monitor sleep. For $50 can't beat it and I'm pretty sure it didn't need FDA...but I'd love a ring instead.Reply
If you're interested in this, check out the Oura ring. It's already out and they're up to 3rd generation. No waiting necessary.Reply