Samsung and Apple Working on Smart Rings

John Lister's picture

Samsung and Apple are both reportedly working on "smart ring" fitness trackers. They're designed as an alternative to smart watches, though with some inherent limitations.

Several companies already sell smart rings to wear on the finger, but none are household names. The likes of Apple and Samsung getting into the market could be a breakthrough, particularly for people with the relevant brand mobile phones.

The logic behind the devices is that some people want to track fitness measures such as step count and heart activity, but don't want to wear a special watch. For example, they may already wear a wristwatch, or not want to wear any form of watch.

The existing models concentrate on health information, with some including a built-in blood oxygen measurement. That can be useful for tracking when a shortage of breath or feeling faint might relate to a serious problem. Some rings offer even more specialist tracking and indication such as indicating whether a user should stop drinking caffeine (or using other stimulants) for the day.

Limited "Display"

Naturally the rings don't have any screens or indicators, other than some models having an LED or vibration. That removes the ability to check fitness data or read notifications without retrieving a phone from a pocket, which is one of the selling points of smartwatches to some runners.

Unlike adjustable watch straps, smart rings are very much not a one-size-fits-all or adjustable proposition. Instead most models are sold using wedding-ring sizes, with some manufacturers shipping a sizing kit to confirm the right fit.

Pay By Ring

It's purely speculation at this point, but some reports suggest Samsung and Apple may offer extra functionality. For example, NFC compatibility means people could use the rings to make contactless payments through systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. It's even possible Apple could use a ring for unlocking digital car locks. (Source:

If the companies go ahead with the devices, the big question is the size of the market and whether it's too niche for such major manufacturers. One big downside is that many potential users may prefer the idea of a ring in principle but have already spent money on a smartwatch and not be prepared to pay again.

What's Your Opinion?

Would a fitness/smart ring interest you? Do you wear a fitness tracker or smartwatch? If so, which functions do you find most useful?

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Chief's picture

I like the idea, but the first thing that sprang to mind was how to exploit it.
I'm certain it will find a niche.

I would want it to be able to quickly and easily interface with a random "burn phone" of my choice so I could use it without arousing suspicion.

The possibilities are delicious.

It had better be bullet proof in security and I don't want to find a back door like we just did with Liberty Safes.

DLStoehner's picture

How would we connect it to the Internet (or to a computer or phone) to update the firmware after a backdoor was located? I guess it would have a "C" port hidden on it somewhere...