Connect with us


Samsung VP James Kitto On The Connected World Of Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Watch And Galaxy Ring



Samsung VP James Kitto On The Connected World Of Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Watch And Galaxy Ring

Alongside Wednesday’s launch of the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Z Flip6 at its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung also revealed several wearable accessories packed with new hardware and capabilities.

Accessories have come a long way since the first smartphones had a pair of wired headphones popped into the retail packaging. Our modern-day headphones and smartwatches are now packed with so much advanced electronics I get the feeling your ears hold more power than the computers in the Apollo lunar lander… and Samsung has probably achieved the same result for your finger with the new Galaxy Ring.

As the Galaxy Unpacked products are revealed, I sit down with Samsung U.K.’s VP James Kitto to talk about the company’s approach to its accessories ecosystem. What will the new Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Ring products bring to the system? What is the importance of health data to consumers, and how will they help each other?

First of all, how big is the potential market for accessories in the United Kingdom? “The core nucleus of our customer base remains our smartphone base. Over multiple years, we’ve nurtured growth and developed that base.” Kitto lays out. “Right now, there are around 23 million Galaxy phone users in the U.K.”

Data from Next Move Strategy Consulting points to a U.K. accessories market of 122.9 units sold in 2023, growing to a projected 174.2 million sales in 2030. That’s a large market for Samsung to address, and it’s one reason the company does not limit compatibility to its own Galaxy devices; they work in an open ecosystem and, as such, will connect and can be used by almost any phone, tablet or laptop, including Apple’s iPhone.

“Our products will work anywhere,” Kitto explains. “ For the very best experience… we’re saying these products are built for our Galaxy customers. Some of the features are built and designed around working within the Galaxy ecosystem, which we have full control of.”

One of the benefits of owning the entire chain of accessories and the hub device (typically a smartphone) is the ability for accessories to work seamlessly with each other. Yes, the accessories will work with any phone, but Samsung’s goal is the classic “sum is greater than the parts” when you sit completely inside the Galaxy’s universe.

“If you own multiple Samsung products—let’s say you own a tablet, a computer and a phone—you can switch on your tablet, start watching a movie and your Galaxy Buds would automatically connect to the tablet. When you turn it off, it connects to your phone,” Kitto says.

Turning to the new products from Galaxy Unpacked, there’s a specific example I wanted to highlight. Both the Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Ring work with Samsung Health to track a number of physical signs, including heart rate. If you are wearing both, then they will communicate and work with each other.

“If you’re wearing a Galaxy Watch and a Galaxy Ring, the heart monitoring can be done via the Galaxy Watch; effectively, the ecosystem will say to the Ring, ‘No need to take quite as many data points of heart rate, we’ve got it covered on the watch,’” Kitto explains.

While this feels unique, it is something that everyone using any health accessory will have experienced in the background. The Galaxy ecosystem (and arguably almost every health-focused ecosystem) has a central point that collects and processes all of the health information; in Samsung’s case, it is the Samsung Health app running on a Galaxy Smartphone.

“Samsung Health becomes kind of the centre of your Health Data universe, powered by AI, fully secured by Knox, locked down onto the device that is personal to you,” Kitto says, emphasizing the care taken to protect your personal data. “It’s very much a secure set of health data but one that is then being analyzed by AI and various other algorithms to present to you.”

Much has been made of the misguided health information generative AI has caused in the last few months. Is there any danger of Samsung’s push into Galaxy AI that similar issues could befall Samsung Health?

“It’s important to distinguish between generative AI and algorithmic AI. Samsung Health is looking at specific health data and is based on specific pattern recognition and matching that against the core preset algorithms to provide recommendations to the customer,” Kitto says.

Yet all of this can quickly add up, even with the base models on show at Galaxy Unpacked. You have your central Galaxy smartphone (let’s go with the new Galaxy Z Flip6 at £1,049), the Galaxy Watch7 and the Galaxy Ring at £399… that’s the best part of £1700 for the full health system on offer (and you’re getting close to £2,000 if you add in a new set of Galaxy Buds3 Pro).

Will consumers be ready to pay out that much?

“They understand the correlation between action and health outcomes, and they want to be in control of that. And now it’s actually very accessible and affordable to say you can monitor your heart rate. You can monitor your steps and your activity rate all day long,” Kitto says.

“If you look at product ownership around the smartphone, consumers in the U.K., irrespective of a brand, you can see that most smartphone users will choose to add a pair of earphones or buds because they want that experience. And as I mentioned, we’ve got a third of the U.K.’s consumers.”

Accessories have come a long way since those wired headphones of early smartphones, but there is a clear path of steps that lead from those early days to the highly connected hardware we have today. Samsung’s accessories can stand alone, yet the value proposition is one of buying into every part of the Galaxy ecosystem.

Add in the software suite from Galaxy AI to the accessories over the next few years, and you have a world that Samsung hopes will welcome tens of millions of new consumers worldwide, while offering more value to the existing user base. Stacking Samsung’s accessories means more value for the consumer, but it also offers Samsung a chance to build a long relationship with those consumers and the chance to keep them inside its own ecosystem for years to come.

Now read more about the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Z Flip6 pre-order offers…

Continue Reading