Samsung Galaxy Ring's Gesture Controls Could Be Its Secret Weapon

Samsung's Unpacked event in Paris introduced the brand-new Galaxy Ring. It's a fitness device that measures wellness metrics, similar to the Oura ring, which has been on sale for years. But it has one extra feature that caught my eye: double-pinch gestures. I have a feeling that's a bigger small feature than it might seem to be right now, especially since Samsung is brewing up a mixed-reality headset designed to compete with the Apple Vision Pro in the next year.

Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Ring Gallery: Details Up Close

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Wearable tech is currently mostly a fitness-focused landscape, with good reason. Step tracking, heart rate tracking, sleep tracking and wellness coaching are all useful. But wearables could and should add gesture controls to what could be a new wave of glasses and XR headsets.

I just flew back from an AR-focused conference, where I saw multiple companies showing how wearables like watches and bands could be small controllers for small smart glasses. Sony has a business-focused mixed-reality headset with its own ring and stylus controls on the way. DoublePoint, a software company, has built a layer on Samsung watches that adds gesture controls for Magic Leap AR headsets.

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy Ring: Everything You Need to Know


Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Samsung's ring only has double-pinch controls for now, similar to the double-tap gesture on Apple's Series 9 watches. It can be used as a remote camera shutter control for Samsung phones, or other simple action triggers.

But what if it could do more? What if the gestures expand over time, and what if Samsung adds extra touch sensors to the Ring itself? Watches already seem like a future companion accessory for smaller smart glasses that may not necessarily have onboard tracking cameras. Rings could be even more useful, or at least smaller. And even without glasses, a gesture-controlled ring could eventually work with smart home tech, or TVs.

Using the double pinch gesture to dismiss an alarm.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

While the gesture controls on Samsung's Ring seem basic at the moment, the ways a simple double tap could work without having to wear a watch seems fascinating. It's an idea that the fitness-focused Oura ring hasn't introduced at all yet.

Samsung's Galaxy Ring has just been announced, and Samsung's upcoming mixed-reality headset doesn't exist yet. Samsung doesn't have smart glasses to compete with Meta's Ray-Bans... yet. But now that Samsung has the Ring in its wearable toolkit, I'm curious to see what will happen next on the gesture front. Considering Samsung has a giant hardware lineup in its corner, the possibilities could be bigger than they first seem.


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