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HomeNews247Quirky wearables come full circle with Samsung’s ‘smart ring’

Quirky wearables come full circle with Samsung’s ‘smart ring’

Korean technology giant Samsung has unveiled its latest line of folding phones, along with a collection of new wearables headlined by its first-ever health ring, although that particular gadget is skipping an Australian launch for now.

At an event in Paris on Wednesday night, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Ring, a titanium band weighing less than three grams that connects to a Samsung smartphone to record health data.

The Samsung Galaxy Ring will skip Australia when it launches on July 31.

The Samsung Galaxy Ring will skip Australia when it launches on July 31.

Samsung said it’s designed to be worn at all times, with periodic charges in its battery case. The ring has an accelerometer, a heart rate tracker and skin thermometer, and together with its companion app can deliver insights about sleep, workouts, heart health and menstrual cycles.

The wearable comes in nine sizes and three finishes (gold, silver and black), launching in some markets on July 31. However, Samsung has not announced pricing or availability for Australia. A spokesperson said more details will be shared in the coming months.

The ring, which will use AI to offer users recommendations on how to make health improvements, will go head-to-head with the Oura Ring, a Finnish sleep-tracking device that retails for between $US299 and $US499.

In smartphones, the book-like Galaxy Z Fold6 and the more pocketable Galaxy Z Flip6 are lighter than their predecessors, Samsung said, and inherit the raft of AI capabilities introduced earlier this year in the Galaxy S series. The phones are powered by the brand new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip6 smartphone.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip6 smartphone.

For the Fold6, Samsung highlighted AI-powered PDF summaries and translations on the 7.6-inch inner screen, and said the 6.3-inch cover screen had been reformatted into a more natural bar shape. It also said a new internal vapour chamber allowed for longer gaming sessions, supporting hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more immersive graphics.

Meanwhile, the Flip6 has a new 50 megapixel main camera, supporting 2x optical quality zoom, and an AI-powered auto-zoom mode that chooses the best framing even when you’ve propped up the phone and can’t reach it.

For both phones, Samsung showed off an AI translator mode that used both screens, one for each speaker in the conversation, and said the devices would be supported by seven years of OS updates.

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Releasing on July 31, the foldable phones continue to become slightly more expensive each year, starting at $1800 for the Flip and $2750 for the Fold.

Consumers should keep an eye out for pre-order bonuses: Telstra for example is offering a $400 trade-in bonus and bonus Tab S9 tablet for customers who pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold6 or Flip6, while Optus is offering $250 off RRP along with a bonus Watch6 and Buds3Pro. Vodafone is offering customers $200 off RRP along with a $500 trade-in bonus and one year free Samsung Care if they pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip6.

Alvin Lee, a senior analyst at Telsyte, said the customer base for foldable phones has grown to about five per cent of the Australian Android smartphone market, since the Samsung Galaxy Fold was first released five years ago.

“Around one in five Australians we surveyed prefer using a foldable phone,” Lee told this masthead.

Samsung’s new watches.

Samsung’s new watches.

“Telsyte believes there is more room for growth, given currently only a few Android manufacturers have released foldable handsets locally. Samsung leads this segment.”

He said that while it’s still early days, one in three Australians has highlighted advanced AI features as an important smartphone selection factor. Battery life is the most important selection factor, followed by price and ease of use.

“We know Australians want sleek, strong and intelligent foldable handsets with flagship features, and the 2024 Galaxy Z series delivers on this, reflecting 13 years of hard work and ground-breaking innovation,” Samsung Australia’s head of mobile product Nathan Rigger said in a statement.

Samsung also showed off some new earbuds, and a suite of watches at the launch event in Paris

The Galaxy Watch Ultra, a clear shot at Apple’s own Watch Ultra, is Samsung’s most powerful watch to date and features a more rugged design for ocean swimmers and ultra-marathon runners. The device, which has the longest battery life in the Galaxy Watch lineup, will be available in a 47mm size in titanium grey, titanium white or titanium silver from July 31 for $1,299.

The Galaxy Watch7, meanwhile, features a new 3 nanometre (nm) processor, which Samsung said is three-times faster than its predecessor, along with a dual-frequency GPS that precisely tracks location in dense urban environments.

The most noteworthy thing about the new Galaxy Buds3 earbuds is their ‘Interpreter’ feature, which uses AI to translate foreign languages in real-time. Users can also control functions like playing or stopping music through a new ‘voice command’ feature.

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