Samsung’s far from the first smartphone company to show an interest in wearables, but it’s rapidly becoming one of the most prolific, with its wearable lineup going from zero to sixty over the course of just a few months. Already we’re talking about third-generation Samsung smartwatches, and now we learn about the company’s ambition for health-focused wearables, as it introduces its Simband reference tracker.
But can’t existing smartwatches and wearables like the Gear Fit already monitor vitals and give us feedback about exercise? Absolutely, but Samsung has its eyes on something a little more advanced, with higher-end sensors, and capable of being part of an even more comprehensive system for recording health data.
This Simband that Samsung revealed isn’t necessarily a product that Samsung is going to sell; for now it’s more like a prototype, and it may ultimately serve to be a template used by other OEMs to craft their own compatible wearables. These Simband devices could support a number of independent sensors, and there may even be a degree of user customization as to which sensors are present. The sensors themselves would be extend beyond the simple heart rate monitor in current-gen Gear models to track things like blood pressure. And in order to ensure uninterrupted data collection, the Simband could be worn continuously, topping-up its battery by means of a snap-on wireless “shuttle battery” overnight.
Beyond the hardware, Samsung envisions a cloud platform it calls SAMI to collect all this data, ready for analysis by apps or medical professionals. SAMI APIs should be available in just a few months, giving devs a start at crafting software that takes advantage of the platform.
All told, it’s quite ambitious, but we worry that Samsung might be getting too focused on the health side of things. After all, won’t successful future smartwatches bundle all these fancy sensors alongside software like Android Wear or Tizen? Is creating a second track for solely health-focused wearables without traditional smartwatch flexibility an idea that will prove wise? Well, Samsung sure seems to believe in the Simband and SAMI, and as we start getting in to 2015 we may finally learn just how interested shoppers are.