Samsung's surprise Galaxy Ring: Who is this wearable really for?

At the end of January's Unpacked event, Samsung announced the wearable Galaxy Ring as the next gadget in its mobile lineup. The debut, with no release date or price revealed, is just a tease of Samsung's plans for new health and wellness products, leaving us wondering: Who is the Galaxy Ring for? I thought.

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In the company's words, the Galaxy Ring is another device in the network of wearables and phones that feeds data to the Samsung Health app. “Ring should be considered as one of many steps toward multi-device engagement,” Hong Park, vice president and head of the digital health team for Samsung's mobile business, told CNET's Lisa Airdisico. I think so,” he said.

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So this is another way to track the types of personal data coming into Samsung Health, such as sleep, nutrition, activity, stress, and more. Specifically, it's for people who don't want a Galaxy Watch or other wrist-worn wearable, but still want to monitor their health, and who find a ring more comfortable to wear.

“Rings are less intrusive than watches, and fingers offer a more physiologically suitable position than the wrist for some health indicators,” says Techsponential's president and principal analyst, who also got a preview of Samsung's Pak. Avi Greengart told CNET.

Greengart expects that some consumers will want both a ring and a watch, while others will choose one or the other. Some people may pick up the ring because they like the way it looks. Eadicicco described the ring as a sleek, minimalist band (lined with sensors on the inside) that resembles the groom's solid metal ring.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Ring at its Galaxy Unpacked event.


“Personally, I'm very excited about this device, because I've been looking at rings myself, but many of them are quite bulky, especially since I'm already using the Galaxy Watch 6 classic. I found out that the Galaxy Ring might actually be perfect for me,” said Anshel Sugg, principal analyst at Moore Insights and Strategy.

Considering smartwatches' displays and array of sensors, we don't expect people to completely replace them with fitness rings. Instead, it fills in the gaps and provides health data when the watch is not being worn, such as when charging overnight. It would be even better if the Galaxy Ring simply worked without requiring a lot of configuration. Sag also believes that Samsung phones probably won't need a new app and will integrate well with other health data.

While smartwatch enthusiasts demand sharper, brighter displays for better interaction, other technology users are satisfied with a device that does everything silently in the background. The Galaxy Ring may be appealing to people who want to track their health data but don't want another small phone gadget demanding their attention.

samsung galaxy ring clean

Look at this: Samsung Galaxy Ring: First impressions

“The idea behind a ring like this is not that it's cheaper than a smartwatch, but that it's a much smaller, discrete device for use cases like sleep tracking,” says International Data Corporation. said Brian Marr, vice president of device research at .

The Galaxy Ring could also be a product for a more limited group of people who want to track their health using the company's own Samsung Health app, but who have an iPhone and can't connect it to the latest Samsung wearables and watches. be. (The Galaxy Watch series has been Android-only since the company partnered with Google in 2021 to use its Wear OS 3 software.)

Samsung hasn't announced pricing or given any indication of how much the Galaxy Ring will cost or what kind of health features it will offer compared to other health wearables. So it's hard to predict how the Galaxy Ring will differentiate itself and appeal to its core user base, but given the market, who will most want to sign up for Samsung's next gadget? You can guess.

Oura smart ring.jpg Oura smart ring.jpg

Oura ring on the right and metal band on the left.

Oli Keskinen

What the market expects from Galaxy Ring

The problem is that other health-tracking rings exist, most notably Oura and Monavo's Evie, which have been adopted by celebrities and athletes, but so far none have been available to the general public. This means that it is not widespread. It won't be easy for Samsung to compete, but the company has scale advantages and an existing ecosystem of other devices that gives it flexibility, Forrester vice president and principal analyst Julie Ask told CNET. told.

“Oura started as hardware, and now it comes bundled with subscriptions where you pay to get more insights,” Ask said. “Samsung should just sell hardware…and at a lower price point than Oura.”

As with any gadget, price drives adoption, and people need more convincing to buy expensive products, especially products in categories that are relatively new on the market. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which starts at $300, is easy to compare to the $400 Apple Watch 9 and $450 Garmin Venu 2, but not as easy to compare to the Oura Ring, which starts at $300.

Ask said it is therefore important to see what price Samsung sets for the Galaxy Ring. If it's $100 to $200, a tech fan might be willing to buy it and give it a try, even if it's sitting in a sock drawer for a few months. If it costs more than $300, you need to know its value before you buy.

They'll be more convinced when they see it in action, so we hope to hear more about the Galaxy Ring once Samsung gears up for its launch. But beyond price and tech specs, Samsung will have to prove that the Galaxy Ring is easy to use. Ask says most people rely on engagement strategies that use a variety of incentives (think of annoying but effective ways to get people to stand up), including gamification, competition, coaching, and support. .

Samsung has confirmed that the Samsung Health app will be getting a new feature called Booster Card that will let you keep track of your health metrics. If your sleep score is low, your card may tell you that it's because you're tossing and turning, for example.

There is an opportunity for Samsung to tap into a segment of consumers who care about fitness and want wearables that are intuitive and easy to use, and that deliver health information more accurately than the solutions we currently have. ing.

Samsung Ring in Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024 Samsung Ring in Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024

Screenshot by Samsung/CNET

Adapt to AI and gain a foothold in the market

Existing Health Ring wearables send collected health data to your phone, and Samsung uses the Samsung Health app on your phone to connect fitness and health metrics, so we expect similar functionality for the Galaxy Ring. Of course it will be done. Another question he has about Samsung's new gadgets is how they benefit from advances in paired cell phones. This means he will generate AI in 2024.

All Samsung Galaxy S24 smartphones launched in mid-January come with generative AI features such as Circle to Search and Generative Edit, all bundled in a package called Galaxy AI. Given all the generation AI features announced with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 that powers the S24 series, it makes sense to bring some of that functionality to the Samsung Health app and work with data collected by the Galaxy Ring. I am.

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Once again, Samsung's teases for the Galaxy Ring have been very sparse, so we're looking forward to seeing more of the generative AI features and how to glean how they'll impact the previously announced Galaxy AI features of the S24 series. there is no. But given Samsung's investments in this area, it would make sense to leverage more data collected by the Galaxy Ring.

”[The Galaxy Ring] “We need to expand our market while connecting with the growing ecosystem of AI devices,” Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwai told CNET.

And while Apple has yet to announce AI health tracking capabilities, Google is preparing to use AI-provided health insights on its Fitbit devices when it launches Fitbit Labs features later this year. Masu. Not only is AI a signature feature of the Galaxy Ring, it may be the bare minimum needed to keep up with the features coming to health wearables this year.

Forrester's Ask noted that Samsung will need more than smartwatches and rings to gain a firm foothold in the fitness wearables space. They will need to educate people and build that market. It starts with convincing them of the Galaxy Ring's usefulness.

“They will need great digital experiences that are easy to set up, provide amazing insights, and drive effective engagement with consumers,” Ask said. ”[That’s] It's difficult to do. “

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