This Galaxy Ring Feature Shows How Samsung Can Stand Out From Oura

Samsung's Galaxy Ring and the Oura Ring have a lot in common. Both are discrete wellness trackers that passively monitor health metrics, activity and sleep throughout the day and night. While it's impossible to know which smart ring is superior without testing the Galaxy Ring, there is one big way Samsung's ring can stand out: How it works in tandem with other Samsung devices.

Samsung is the first major smartphone maker to release a smart ring, and it's using that to its advantage with the Galaxy Ring. Samsung's new smart ring can snooze alarms from your phone and control its camera, and you can locate it using Samsung Find if the ring is misplaced. 

Those features alone aren't reason enough to choose Samsung's option over Oura. But they set up the Galaxy Ring to potentially strike the perfect middle ground between being a smart device that functions as a companion to your phone while remaining significantly less distracting than a smartwatch. That's something that Oura isn't doing right now. 

Read more: Apple and Samsung Have Different Visions of AI for Our Phones

How the Galaxy Ring works with Samsung phones and watches

You'll be able to use the Galaxy Ring to snooze an alarm, take a photo or record a video on your Samsung phone by performing a double pinching gesture while wearing the ring. The Galaxy Ring also works with Samsung Find and will light up in red and green so that it's easier to locate. 

Samsung says its Samsung Health app will be able to tell when you're wearing both the Galaxy Ring and a Galaxy Watch and will use whichever device is providing the clearer measurement. It'll then turn off sensors that aren't being used to extend battery life, which is critical considering the Galaxy Ring is designed to be worn 24/7 to measure activity and sleep. Battery life has also been a shortcoming for smartwatches, so being able to offload some of that health processing to the Galaxy Ring could be a huge help. 

Why that could give Samsung an edge over Oura

Some of these features sound surprisingly practical and useful. While I don't know how often I'd be snapping photos remotely using the Galaxy Ring, I can certainly imagine using it to snooze my alarm in the morning. 

Double pinching my fingers together seems like a simpler and faster way to turn off my blaring alarm while I'm half asleep rather than fumbling for my phone. Since the Galaxy Ring is meant to be worn overnight and has longer battery life than many smartwatches, incorporating some type of alarm control functionality seems like a no-brainer. In the future, I'd love to see a version of the Galaxy Ring with haptic feedback so that it can function as a standalone alarm. 

But more importantly, this type of communication between Galaxy phones and the Galaxy Ring opens up a lot of possibilities. For example, it would be interesting to see a feature that prompts your phone to make a sound when double pinching for times when you misplace your device. I've come to rely on my smartwatch for this purpose, so much so that I barely even try to look for my phone anymore when I can't immediately find it. 

Or what if you could program that double pinch gesture to do anything you want, such as launching your favorite workout playlist on Spotify, ordering your morning coffee or playing or pausing music being streamed through your Galaxy Buds? It would be interesting to see that gesture turn into an invisible multipurpose button of sorts, similar to the Action Button on the iPhone. Of course, this is all my own speculation; Samsung hasn't said a word about future plans for the Galaxy Ring's double pinch gesture.

Smart rings like the Galaxy Ring and Oura Ring are meant to be health trackers above all else, not an extension of your phone. Still, being a phone companion doesn't have to mean serving up notifications on your wrist or your finger. It can mean helping with tasks that you don't need a screen to accomplish, and the Galaxy Ring's double pinch gestures hint at that direction.

That's not to say Oura will never branch out beyond wellness tracking; it acquired the digital identification company Proxy last year, fueling speculation that it might get into contactless payments. But Samsung's status as the number one mobile device maker puts it in a strong position to explore how smart rings can potentially act as a shortcut to using your phone. 


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