Can iPhone users switch for a Galaxy Ring as it turns Samsung Health into a walled garden?

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Can iPhone users switch for a Galaxy Ring as it turns Samsung Health into a walled garden?
The Apple Watch compatibility with Android is non-existent and for some reason Samsung is about to replicate that walled iOS ecosystem garden with its new accessory, the Galaxy Ring

While a smart ring is reportedly just a twinkle in the eye of Apple's device development chief still, Samsung not only has a functioning prototype, but also brought teaser units at the MWC 2024 expo where we had a chance to preview the different sizes and colors and get hints how it will work with Samsung AI.

Samsung is scheduling its so-called Galaxy Ring for a release later this summer, too, perhaps even together with the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, or a bit before their announcement so as not to steal from its 2024 foldable phones thunder with the brand new form factor. Excited? Not so fast, non-Samsung phone owners!

Samsung Galaxy Ring compatibility


Just like Apple's Watch is only fully compatible with its iPhones, the Galaxy Ring and all the new Samsung Health features it will take advantage of may only be compatible with Samsung phones and accessories at launch. That phone exclusivity is even more important for a device without a display like the smart ring than for a smartwatch.

Which users? According the head of its digital health department Hon Pak before CNET, the electronics giant developed the Galaxy Ring in order to bring "Samsung customers choice and convenience in the form of a new type of product" and that's about it. 

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What about Galaxy Ring compatibility with iPhones and even other Android phones? Apparently, Galaxy Ring exclusivity to Samsung devices is "where we are," he said. "And then beyond? I think it's TBD," added Pak.

That goes against the grain of Android's freewheeling spirit and even against the philosophy of its current lines of wearables like the Galaxy Watch series. Right now, it supports phones with Android 8 and above apart from some exclusive features like Samsung Pay that only works when paired with the company's phones.

While the Galaxy Ring compatibility with the Galaxy Watch will be there, and Samsung even promised interoperability, its support for iPhones and even the limited support for other Android phones that the Galaxy Watch line enjoys will seemingly be non-existent for a good while and certainly at launch. It works great with the Galaxy S24 series, though!

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Would iPhone users jump ship for the Galaxy Ring?

Tall order

Samsung hopes that the Galaxy Ring is such an enticing new form factor that it may very well make some people come to Samsung's fold from other brands and even jump the iOS ship. 

It's good timing, too, now that Apple is embroiled in litigation that removed the blood oxygen measuring functionality from its venerable Watch line of wearables.

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If this is a new strategy, Samsung is evidently considering the Galaxy Ring a gateway drug to its digital health ecosystem and Samsung devices in general. Granted, it is arguably the first such form factor in a brand-name wearable from one of the world's two largest phone makers. Samsung is apparently so convinced how unique this new device is that it wants to keep it exclusive to its dedicated fanbase and even hopes to get some stragglers across the iOS aisle.

The success of that strategy, however, won't just depend on the Galaxy Ring price, but also on the execution of its digital health or fitness tracking features, and if Samsung's bet pays off, it will see wider adoption of its whole ecosystem of phones, wearables, and accessories. 

If not, Samsung Health risks becoming Apple's walled garden without boasting nearly the same clout, no matter how cool and innovative the Galaxy Ring turns out to be.

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