Health and fitness is the current battleground that almost all smart watches are competing on, and while Apple will reportedly be going big on health sensors with the Apple Watch 8, Samsung apparently has a new one of its own for the upcoming Galaxy Watch 5. ET News (opens in new tab) reports that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 will be the first in the line to contain a built-in thermometer for measuring skin temperature.
This feature isn’t exactly new in the world of wearables, with the Fitbit Sense offering similar functionality. But Samsung has apparently been delaying adoption until the feature is reliable enough not to be influenced by external factors like ambient temperature, direct sunlight and the heat generated from working up a sweat. The company has now resolved this, according to the report, with technology to measure body temperature “as accurately as possible”.
Why would you want to measure body temperature? Well, a high temperature can be an indicator of sickness or even infectious disease, as recently proved to be the case with Covid-19. Indeed, some venues insisted on using a scanner to measure skin temperature as a requirement for entry.
And while coronavirus will hopefully have moved even further down the news agenda by the time the Galaxy Watch 5 emerges in the fall (August, according to the report), temperature can be used to introduce or enhance other health metrics, like menstrual cycle tracking or stress analysis.
Interestingly, the Galaxy Watch 5 might not be the only place where this new technology ends up. The report adds that Samsung is considering adding similar functionality to an upcoming set of Galaxy Buds, with a prototype model capable of measuring body temperature via infrared sensors.
Possible reliability issues aside, this sounds like a less sensible implementation. Earbuds aren’t worn all day in the same way that a smartwatch is, making spot-check temperature readouts that bit less useful than passive measurement via the wrist.
Assuming the report is accurate and Samsung maintains the current sensors already introduced, the next smartwatch could be packed with health features. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 can already measure body composition, blood oxygen levels and tan ECG monitor, and the company is also reportedly considering blood glucose monitoring. All useful in their own way, but we’ll just have to see what a myriad of sensors does to the price of an already quite pricey wearable.