Samsung unexpectedly unveiled its latest wearable device, the Galaxy Ring, during its Galaxy Unpacked event today. The smart ring aims to compete with devices like the Oura Ring by offering robust health and fitness tracking in a compact, stylish form factor.
A Surprise Announcement
The Galaxy Ring reveal came as a surprise near the end of the Unpacked showcase for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S24 smartphone series. Most of the event focused on the new foldable Galaxy S24 Ultra and updates to Samsung’s partnerships with companies like Google and Meta.
Then Samsung CEO JS Choi took the stage again for a “one more thing” announcement – the Galaxy Ring. He quickly showed off a render of the ring but provided few other official details. The device was likely in early prototype stages and months away from an official launch.
Still, Samsung wanted to get the word out that it had a smart ring in development to contend with existing players like Oura and Circular. Health wearables are a fast-growing market that Samsung wants to lead rather than follow.
Taking on Oura
The Oura Ring is currently the most advanced consumer smart ring available. Launched in 2018, it focuses heavily on sleep tracking and readiness metrics powered by sensors like heart rate monitoring and temperature sensors.
Over two million Oura Rings are now in use. But so far, no major technology brand has directly tried competing with Oura. The Galaxy Ring changes that and brings Samsung’s marketing budget and distribution clout into play.
Samsung Galaxy Ring vs. Oura Ring
|Samsung Galaxy Ring
|Optical heart rate, temperature
|Optical heart rate, temperature
Samsung is aiming to match or beat Oura’s sensor and algorithm capabilities for sleep and readiness tracking. It then will likely try differentiating by integrating these metrics into its existing Samsung Health platform alongside data from Galaxy phones, watches, and buds.
Oura does not have this wider device ecosystem. So the Galaxy Ring could offer a more holistic health dashboard fueled by Samsung’s AI expertise.
What Will the Galaxy Ring Do?
While specs and software capabilities remain mostly unclear, we can infer what the Galaxy Ring intends to offer users based on existing wearables.
Key Galaxy Ring Features
- Continuous heart rate monitoring
- Sleep tracking with sleep stages
- Blood oxygen saturation measurements
- Respiratory rate tracking during sleep
- Temperature sensors to detect illness early
- Readiness/recovery scores each morning
- Cycle/fertility tracking for women
- Calorie burn estimates
- Steps tracking
- Active time minutes
- Sync with Samsung Health app
The Galaxy Ring checks off most things you would expect from a modern health wearable like the Oura Ring or Fitbit. Continuous heart rate and oxygen monitoring give deeper sleep analytics and let you track intensity during workouts.
Respiratory rate ties into sleep quality scores – higher variability can suggest issues. And skin temperature sensors can sometimes detect the onset of sickness a couple days early.
These features would all integrate into Samsung Health on your phone to provide a centralized dashboard alongside your Galaxy Watch and buds data.
What’s Next for the Galaxy Ring
Samsung only showed off a non-functioning product render of the ring. So the Galaxy Ring is clearly in early development and not launching for at least a few months.
Most smart rings today are fairly thick and bulky – not ideal for 24/7 wear. So Samsung needs time to refine the technology and design. It aims to balance battery capacity and sensors within a ring you can wear full-time without discomfort or snagging.
The Galaxy Ring will likely come in multiple size options. And when it does launch, expect premium pricing on par with the $299 Oura Ring or higher. Samsung will market it as a flagship health wearable for the discerning user.
Rumors suggest a Fall 2024 launch window. That timing mirrors typical Galaxy Watch unveilings. It gives Samsung time to manufacture at scale and build inventory ahead of the busy holiday season.
The Galaxy Ring Launch will garner significantly more attention than Oura and other niche smart ring startups. So they will need to articulate compelling reasons for users to choose their products over Samsung’s brand power and integration with Galaxy phones.
Either way, the consumer now wins. The smart ring space is set to expand rapidly in functionality and visibility thanks to Samsung throwing its hat in the ring, literally. This surprise teaser is just the start of a new wearable battle centered on our fingers.
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