The smartwatch race is about to heat up, as everyone scrabbles to position themselves as the wearable with the most health benefits. Samsung is jumping on that bandwagon, and also essentially rebooting its Gear S4 smartwatch in its bid to compete with the Apple Watch. But will it be a good reboot like Star Trek, or will it be more like Batman vs Superman, or The Sweeney, starring Ray Winstone and Plan B?
Of course not, nothing could be as bad as that.
And when we say rebooting, we really mean it, not like, say, Spider-man. The word is that the world's second favourite smartwatch will receive advanced health tracking features, a new operating system, and even a new name.
The headline news is that the Samsung Gear S4 is going to feature blood pressure monitoring, in direct competition to everything Apple is trying to do around health with Watch.
There's no information on precisely how this will work yet, but we suspect it'll be in the same 'vein' (ho ho) as the Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone.
That's able to measure something called 'Heart Load Factor' using an optical sensor, collecting bio-data from your pulse, via your fingertip. It then applies linear regression analysis and a set of baseline medical-grade blood pressure results to guesstimate your blood pressure. But you already knew that, right?
Samsung worked with the University of California, San Francisco on this tech, and has also created an app called My BP Lab, which collects data in order to improve the accuracy of the optical sensor over time. AI for your BP.
These readings, we are pretty sure, will be for general 'wellness' and fitness purposes, because there's no way Samsung is going to jump through the necessary hoops to register this as a proper medical device.
This rumour comes from reliable serial leaker Ice Universe on Twitter, who also sheds some light on other aspects of the watch:
About Gear S4 (probably called Galaxy Watch) Based on Android Wear, 470mAh battery, PLP package, it is expected to have new UX interaction and blood pressure measurement.July 6, 2018
We reported before that Samsung will ditch its homegrown wearable operating system, Tizen, for Google's Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear).
Ultimately, it looks like the decision is down to the ecosystem, because while Tizen was superior to Android Wear in some ways, it never really attracted many developers. As a result, there weren't many apps or watch faces designed for the system.
Wear OS, on the other hand, has plenty of third party support, although the quality of its apps still tends to lag behind the Apple Watch.
And finally, if Ice Universe is to be believed, it looks like the Gear S4 may be called the Galaxy Watch, to bring it more in line with Samsung's smartphone offerings. That makes such perfect sense, we don't know why Samsung didn't do it years ago.