Samsung has been an active part of the smartwatch category since last year but has always aimed more at the hi-tech notification end of the market. Last night they showed off a wristband that is aimed at health monitoring and unlike most Samsung products it is designed to work with third parties.
The device is called the Simband and is part of the ‘SAMI’ or Samsung Architecture Multimedia Interactions platform. At this stage it is a prototype rather than a full product but Samsung is promising a beta version by the end of this year. Samsung’s approach seems to be to try to get developers and third-party sensor manufacturers interested and use the Simband as a central control point.
If it works out as planned the Simband will be able to take precise reading for heart rate, blood flow, respiration, galvanic skin response, hydration, and blood gas and glucose measurements. In addition it would be able to measure the local air quality and temperature. The idea is that basic sensors would be built into the Simband itself and more specific sensors would be added as required – a similar concept to a smart house control system. It also takes the question of accuracy of sensors largely away from Samsung and gives it to the third-party manufacturers.
The Simband also had one more feature that was interesting. Rather than take the wristband off at night to charge you would instead attach an additional magnetic battery to the watch as you sleep. This extra battery would then be removed in the morning and charge itself all day, with the result that you would never have to take the Simband off. If it works its a very good dea and one that could easily be spread to other wearable devices.
The SAMI and Simband concept is an interesting if not original one and it is clear why Samsung want to be part of this market. The Simband does everything it needs to do but is not that innovative in itself. If Samsung can get enough third parties and developers involved it might work but without it the platform will be dead in the water. No-one has yet managed to get this market integrated; Samsung might be the one but I would not place good odds on their chances.