While most of us have smartwatches or trackers around our wrists to monitor stats like daily steps and heart rate, smart rings offer a handy, lightweight alternative, and it looks like we'll have a new product in the category soon.
A Samsung patent for a ring-type smart device was reported on the Naver forum (opens in a new tab) in South Korea (via Notebookcheck (opens in a new tab)), and the idea is that the device could offer a suite of features similar to those available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
The usual caveats with patent applications apply: they only indicate ongoing research and development within a company and do not guarantee the appearance of an actual device. However, it looks like Samsung is at least exploring its options when it comes to smart rings.
A ring to govern them all
Right now, the biggest name in smart ring gaming is Oura, with the third-generation Oura smart ring offering features like 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and even some workouts. of full attention. It retails for €299, which at the time of writing equates to around €265 / AU$470.
According to insiders, Samsung plans to pack an optical heart rate monitor and ECG capabilities into the smart ring. An ECG (electrocardiogram) reading looks for irregularities in heart rhythms.
It doesn't look like the device will appear any time soon, if it ever makes it to the mainstream market, but the signs are that Samsung plans to further expand its lineup of Galaxy devices.
Analysis: smart ring vs smart watch
If the idea of a smart ring has never occurred to you before, this may sound a bit strange. However, these wearables can beat smartwatches in several areas, including battery life – the Oura Ring can last a whole week between charges.
A ring is also a more discreet device compared to smartwatches or even the most basic fitness trackers worn around the wrist. If you do intense sports and workouts, you may prefer the lighter, fixed feel of a smart ring over other alternatives.
When it comes to sleep monitoring, again, the more discreet the device, the better. Many of us are already used to wearing rings, whether for engagements, weddings, or just for decoration, so a smart ring isn't much more to wear (although we'd be surprised if someone suggested wearing one).
Samsung is clearly going to do some research before deciding to launch a smart ring, and it's not the only company looking to fill the niche: Fitbit is also working on a smart ring, while a variety of other options are also popping up.