Samsung’s new phones, premium watch and ringtone show the company’s focus on AI and rivals Apple

Samsung’s new phones, premium watch and ringtone show the company’s focus on AI and rivals Apple

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samsung is infusing its wearable devices with the latest in technology: artificial intelligence.

The South Korean electronics giant announced on Wednesday that both its first premium smartwatch and a smart ring, heralding its entry into a niche market, will feature artificial intelligence features expected to help people track and manage their health.

Both the Galaxy Watch Ultra, which sells for $650, and the Galaxy Ring, which sells for $400, A move that Samsung started six months ago When it introduced its first smartphones to feature AI technology as its main focus. The high-end smartwatch costs twice the price of Samsung’s latest standard model, the Galaxy Watch 7, which will sell for $300.

It has become a growing trend to connect AI to people’s basic devices. The technology is already built into smartphones Google And Apple It competes with Samsung and is also featured in the latest personal computers running Microsoft’s Windows software.

The use of AI in Samsung’s new premium watch and ring focuses solely on improving and protecting personal health, which is the main reason most people buy wearable technology.

Both Samsung’s watch and ring use artificial intelligence to better analyze biometric data collected from the wearer, allowing them to assess a person’s well-being through an “energy score” that offers scores from 1 to 100, and offer suggestions like a virtual fitness coach.

Just as Apple plans to do with its AI services, Samsung’s new wearables will also collect the most sensitive information on the devices themselves. But some data will be processed remotely through computing centers with a “defense-grade, multi-layered security platform” that Samsung likens to a virtual Fort Knox, reflecting Apple’s promise to collect all personal information that needs to be processed from a device in a digital fortress. But those promises don’t guarantee that there will never be security breaches or other failures that inadvertently expose personal information to outsiders.

Samsung’s premium phone is the more sophisticated of its latest wearables, capable of performing some functions that the Galaxy Ring can’t (such as flagging sleep apnea). However, the ring requires less frequent charging and is equipped with a battery that can last six to seven days before needing to be replaced.

But the smartwatch is now in a much more crowded market, led by Apple, which has been increasing its focus on health features since entering the market a decade ago. More than 60 million people use the Samsung Health app, which works with their smartwatches.

The health benefits of wearable technology have encouraged more people to buy smartwatches, with worldwide sales of the devices expected to approach $29 billion this year, according to a forecast by research firm Gartner Inc. That means about 164 million new smartwatches will be worn on the wrist this year, and Gartner predicts annual sales will rise to 195 million by 2028.

Samsung is likely to face more challenges in the smart ring market, but it won’t face much competition so far. The segment has been dominated by startups like Oura and RingConn, which have failed to make significant progress.

“Smart rings are still an emerging category with no specific use case, with no expectation of growing beyond a niche market by 2028,” Gartner said in its latest overview of the wearable technology market.

The company expects a small segment that includes smart rings to generate $2.4 billion in sales this year, rising to about $4.6 billion by 2028.

Despite coming in nine different sizes, Samsung’s Galaxy Ring is only compatible with one type of software: Google’s Android operating system. That leaves out mostly wealthy consumers who own iPhones and are generally interested in checking out new forms of tech like the Galaxy Ring.

Samsung is also launching its latest attempt to attract more people to buy a foldable phone equipped with two screens that can be hinged together to transform the device into a pseudo-tablet. It’s a concept Samsung has been pursuing since 2019 with minimal success, but the company continues to update the device with camera and AI features to feed the niche market. The next-gen Galaxy Z Fold 6 will retail for $1,900.

Meanwhile, unionized workers in South Korea, indefinite strike To pressure Samsung to accept their calls for higher wages and other benefits, thousands of members of the National Samsung Electronics Union began a temporary, three-day strike on Monday. But the union said on Wednesday it was declaring an indefinite strike, accusing management of failing to negotiate.

Samsung claims there were no disruptions in production.

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