The Samsung Galaxy Ring looks likely to be at the forefront of a new health tracking drive from Samsung, and it could be one of the devices that beats Apple to breakthrough features such as continuous blood pressure monitoring and blood glucose readings.
Those two features are currently beyond the reach of consumer-level smartwatches and fitness trackers, and require a proper clinical device – but in an interview with Bloomberg, Samsung health executive Hon Pak says the company is working hard to develop them. Apparently, noninvasive glucose monitoring could arrive "in some form within five years", Samsung said.
"If we can do continuous blood pressure and glucose, we're in a whole different ball game," Pak said. "I think that's where everyone is trying to get to. We're putting significant investment toward that."
Getting these features in a tiny wrist-based device isn't easy – people with diabetes have traditionally needed to use a finger-prick test for measuring glucose levels, for example. Continuous, non-invasive glucose monitors that stick to the skin are now available, but they need to be replaced every 7-14 days, which isn't an option for a smartwatch.
Give me a ring
Pak also mentioned the upcoming Galaxy Ring in the interview. It's expected to launch at some point in 2024, with activity and sleep tracking built in, but the Bloomberg report says "more health features" are planned for the future.
"The ring represents that community of people who want health tracking that is more comfortable and less obtrusive," Pak said. "It's meeting a need of a specific population of people who want to track and measure, but in a different way."
Pak also went on record as saying that future versions of the Samsung Galaxy Buds could well have more health sensors integrated into them, and that the company was exploring meditation and mental health options for virtual reality headsets.
Apple, meanwhile, certainly isn't standing still: we've heard that it's working hard to make blood glucose monitoring tech available in upcoming Apple Watches, though its ongoing patent dispute may mean those plans are delayed for the foreseeable future.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.