The average smartphone is now the size of a surfboard. It demands attention 24/7. So people are clamouring for less obtrusive – and smaller – smart devices. Glasses might be the future, but for now I reckon smart watches are where it’s at. Samsung disagrees, judging by its Samsung Galaxy Ring announcement.
Well, sort-of announcement. Samsung didn’t really reveal anything. Sure, gadget site contributors frantically smashed out breathless explainers, while editors barked “SEO!” in their ears. But I can sum them all up by what was said at Samsung Unpacked: Samsung is making a ring wearable to tie into its health features, and it’ll be out later this year. The end.
It’s also worth being mindful that smart rings are not new. If you heard loud screaming during the hours those aforementioned articles were hitting the internet, you probably live near to the PR team for Oura, Circular or Ultrahuman. But, as ever, BIG TECH COMPANY HULK SMASH. People take more notice when giants rock up.
Ring a ding ding
However, I’m unsure I want a Samsung Galaxy Ring. Yes, it would be nice to have a health-oriented wearable that weighed almost nothing. Sure, it’d be handy to not have to charge the thing every day (*cough*Apple Watch*cough*). And I can see the value of kit devoid of a distracting screen. Hopefully it won’t have a speaker either. Nor a sneaky projection system with preinstalled Tetris. That would be bad.
But smart rings are thicker than normal rings, in the way smart watches are chunkier than traditional watches. And as someone who doesn’t wear much jewellery, I’m unconvinced I’d be willing to have a giant ring dominate my digits, while my wedding band (and wife) looked on disapprovingly.
Mind you, I never thought I’d wear an Apple Watch, and yet one is strapped to my wrist daily. And when I recently had a bad fall, I was reminded how vital and potentially life-saving wearable smart tech can be. So: hmmm.
Get the bands back together
Maybe it’s Samsung, then? I have a Samsung DARTH FRIDGE and Samsung tellies. But the company’s made no other inroads in my home. What if other tech giants whose products I use threw their hats into the ring, or, er, smart rings into the ring? Instead of the Samsung Galaxy Ring, I could then choose from these:
Amazon Echo Go with Alexa: Dirt cheap. Feels like a ring from a Christmas cracker. Glows yellow and when you respond claims it has an important notification. Then says a brand of beans you bought in 2017 is having a 15% off sale. Duly removed, the ring will fail to warn me about an impending heart attack brought on from eating the wrong beans.
Apple Ring: Late to the party, Apple will nonetheless infer it invented this gadget category. ‘Just works’, except when trying to connect to iCloud, which just doesn’t. Will lack a key feature commonplace on Android rings. Ensconced as I am in the Apple ecosystem, I’ll try to ignore that – but gripe about it in every year-in-review Apple article.
Google Pixel Ring: Seemingly at random, Google will announce its ring months ahead of it going on sale. It will be surprisingly affordable and although not the best, reassuringly solid in every metric. Then Google will abruptly cancel it after six months.
Microsoft Band: The Redmond giant will resurrect an old brand and have its wearable do everything through ChatGPT. AI hallucinations will mean I can’t trust a thing it says. Which will become all the more apparent when it says I slept 37 hours overnight. And am a bright blue tortoise named Gerald. Inexplicably, Microsoft’s ring will also be brown.
Maybe I’ll just stick to my Apple Watch…
- Now read: The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is the titanium-wrapped flagship I’d trade my Pixel 8 Pro for