Samsung introduces smart ring with sleep-enhancing capabilities

After a brief tease at the end of its big Galaxy S24 event earlier this month, Samsung officially debuted the Galaxy Ring this morning at MWC. Circular cofounder and CEO Amaury Kosman stated, “We’re really pleased that Samsung has announced that it will be bringing the Samsung Galaxy Ring to market later this year. The company isn’t a household name, but it’s big enough to effectively be synonymous with the smart ring category for many consumers. While the Galaxy Ring appeared on the MWC floor today, we’re still waiting for a lot here with regards to specifics. Samsung could also lean into sleep tracking, suggesting users wear the Watch all day and sleep with the Ring on.

At the recent Galaxy S24 event, Samsung briefly teased their newest product: the Galaxy Ring. This morning at MWC, the tech giant officially unveiled the latest addition to the emerging market of wearable technology. The announcement included a striking image and confirmation of Samsung’s venture into this category.

Following the Unpacked press conference, TechCrunch received unsolicited reactions from some of the competition. Among them, Tom Hale, CEO of Oura, remarked “New players entering the space is validation for the category and drives us to aim higher to serve our members and community.” Amaury Kosman, CEO of Circular, also added “We’re really pleased that Samsung has announced that it will be bringing the Samsung Galaxy Ring to market later this year. Having a large technology player such as Samsung join the smart ring market, really adds validation to the industry.”

These statements often come across as insincere, with companies attempting to mask their fear of competition. Similar to the numerous startups Sherlocked by Apple, most tend to express through gritted teeth how they are “happy” about the big corporate giant entering the market, while secretly wishing they had diversified their portfolio sooner. While I cannot say for sure how my opinion would differ if it were Apple entering the category, it’s fair to say that the Galaxy Ring can be seen as a validation for the industry. Samsung’s entry will without a doubt impact existing market share, but for Oura, it confirms that they’re doing something right. The company may not be a household name, but it’s big enough to be synonymous with the smart ring category for many consumers, and will likely emerge even stronger from this competition.

It’s worth noting that Hale emphasized Oura’s patent portfolio, stating “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.” While this may not be a veiled threat, it does suggest that the company is ready to defend its intellectual property, should any infringements occur.

Though the Galaxy Ring was on display at the MWC floor, we are still waiting for more specific details. What we do know is that Samsung is heavily emphasizing its health offerings. The ring’s form factor may limit some features compared to a smartwatch, but its positioning on the finger makes it well-suited for tracking activity and sleep metrics.

“One of the biggest challenges the healthcare industry is facing today is fragmented data and how to bring it all together,” notes Samsung VP Hon Pak. “Samsung is uniquely positioned to undertake this with one of the largest, most diverse connected device ecosystems. Now with Samsung Health, we’re connecting different devices and partner solutions within one cohesive platform, making it simpler to track health conditions on a Galaxy wearable.”

With this in mind, the Galaxy Ring adds to the health offerings that Samsung has already developed through its smartphones and popular Galaxy Watch line. While many have seen smart rings and smartwatches as an either-or proposition, this may change with both products being produced by the same company and offering the same health benefits. Some may choose to use both the Apple Watch and Oura Ring, but for most, it may be deemed excessive. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic changes when both products are created by the same company.

The Galaxy Ring is seen as a way to supplement data collected by the Watch. Alternatively, Samsung could focus on sleep tracking and suggest that users wear the Watch during the day and the Ring while sleeping. Personally, I can’t sleep with a watch on my wrist, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

Samsung describes the Galaxy Ring as “a new health form factor that simplifies everyday wellness, supporting smarter and healthier living via a more connected digital wellness platform — Samsung Health.” The prototypes displayed at the event are not the final product, which is expected to be released later this year, just in time for the holidays. The on-board sensors will measure heart rate, movement, and breathing to create a comprehensive profile of the wearer’s health and sleep patterns.

This information will contribute to the “MyVitality Score” feature, which Samsung explains as offering “personalized health insights based on multiple factors including sleep, activity, heart rate, and heart rate variability.” In addition, the new “Booster Card” feature will track predefined goals and provide actionable insights to promote a healthier lifestyle. These features are expected to be available on the Galaxy Watch 6, most likely prior to the release of the Ring.

Questions still remain about pricing and battery life. Samsung will likely try to make these as competitive as possible with Oura’s offering. However, it’s worth noting that Oura buyers must factor in the monthly subscription fee. Samsung could follow suit with a premium model or subscription-based service in the future. As Samsung VP Hon Pak stated last year, “Right now the service is completely free, but we are exploring different options. In the future, we are contemplating a premium model or a subscription-based service.”

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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