Samsung Wants To Send Your Digital Health Data To the Cloud

At San Francisco Event, the Company Unveils A New Platform For Wearable Products

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Samsung is aiming to corner two markets: wearables and health.

Samsung Galaxy Gear
Samsung Galaxy Gear

At an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, the Korean electronics manufacturer unveiled a new software platform designed for sensor technologies that measure health and biological data and stow it away in the cloud.

"Our goal is someday you have sensors that know much more about your body," Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung, said at the event.

Mr. Young also displayed a potential device for its software. Dubbed a Simband, the futuristic wristband would track skin temperature, heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure and a host of other health data. The company described it as an "investigational device" and stressed it was not available for sale.

Its software platform, called SAMI, or Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions, is coming to market, offering an API for developers to create data-soaking health sensors. With the move, Samsung looks to be positioning itself as the go-to operating system for the booming market of personal fitness wearables.

Harry McCracken, a long-time technology journalist, described the move as an attempt to become "Android for health."

And it's perhaps the company's most assertive stance as a major Silicon Valley tech force. It is the first initiative from Samsung's Strategy and Innovation Center, based in Menlo Park, Calif. Additionally, the company announced a $50 million investment fund for digital health startups, part of an earlier funding round for cloud and mobile companies.

Samsung, like other tech giants, is rushing ahead into both digital health tracking and wearable devices. In February, Samsung partnered with the University of California San Francisco to collaborate on the "validation and commercialization of promising new sensors, algorithms, and digital health technologies for preventive health solutions."

Its smartphone rival, Apple, is rumored to be launching a health application soon, speculation Apple does not confirm.

In April, Samsung began sales of Gear Fit, its own fitness tracker, along with two new smartwatches, Gear 2 and Gear Neo.

According to the research firm Strategic Analytics, Samsung shipped 500,000 smartwatches in the first quarter of the year, representing 71% of the global sales, before the Gear Fit and two new watches arrived on the market.

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