Samsung’s Health Event Was All Hype, No Substance

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Samsung’s “Voice of the Body” event held earlier today had seemingly everything Samsung could squeeze out the door before Apple’s Healthbook’s big WWDC reveal. A cool-looking watch that can collect multiple data points on your health? Check. Software for storing that data? Check. Promises that partners will do all kinds of innovative stuff with said hardware/software? Check.

Beyond Samsung’s hype though, there’s nothing for consumers to actually get excited about. The SIMBand is a reference device, a proof of concept. Maybe they were fibbing a bit, and plan on bringing the device to market themselves at a later date — the company already has multiple smartwatch platforms competing with each other on the market, so they could just be waiting for one or two of them to fail.

But wait! Wasn’t that live demo of the watch awesome? You could see several pieces of data instantly collected and presented in a pretty interface. True — except that’s a fairly useless feature.

SIMBand demo Samsung

The point of these devices is to aggregate a ton of data and present users with easy to understand trends and recommendations. After all, if your heart rate is up, you can feel it. But if your heart rate is consistently higher than usual this week, that might be something to keep an eye on.

And when it comes to the software for looking at that kind of information that Samsung showed off today, there wasn’t much that we haven’t seen before.

Here’s what Samsung demonstrated during the event today:

Samsung health demo

And here’s a screenshot of the Body IQ web app from Basis, the health wearable startup Intel bought back in March for $100 million:

body iq web app basis

If Samsung really wanted to take the air from beneath Apple’s wings, it needed to show us something that stands out from the crowd. Instead, it showed off a device that doesn’t do much we can’t already do with current wearables that might never come to market, although it does them in a prettier way (which gets points from some consumers and members of the press.) The same can be said about the software that debuted today.

Perhaps the biggest blow against what Samsung showed us today is that the University of California San Francisco researcher on stage couldn’t give a great reason for this to exist today, instead falling back on platitudes of “innovation” that could be summed up as “Silicon Valley will find something cool to do with this… eventually”:

samsung health event

If Tim Cook and Co. really do announce Healthbook next week (which they could still decide not to do), you can bet that Apple has already come up with actual use cases for their new software. That’s why people are excited for whatever it might be, and it’s something Samsung can’t just copy.

USER Kyle Russell