Era of mobile health tracking definitively arrives, Samsung Galaxy S4 & accessories focuses on mHealth

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 1.05.13 AMThe Galaxy S3 is the most popular Android smartphone on the planet. Their followup to the S3, appropriately dubbed the S4, was announced yesterday. Although the form factor has largely stayed the same, there are significant upgrades to the phone’s overall specs.

In addition to the announcement of the phone — Samsung also announced three key health device accessories that will launch with their feature phone.

We won’t get into the nitty gritty of the S4’s processor and some of their gimmicky software features  — but it’s important to note Samsung’s S4 will have a built in pedometer for tracking the number of steps you take.  This is notable as Samsung’s S4 will be the most popular feature phone with a native health tracking feature.

Sensors in the phone also enable it to measure ambient temperatures and humidity in the room you’re in.  This data feeds into Samsung’s S Health app.  I must admit, I have a difficult time appreciating what your surrounding temperature and humidity have to do with health fitness.

Samsung’s S Health app is a native app the phone comes with — enabling you to input the calories you consume in a day and a slew of other fitness metrics.

Samsung is also releasing three key external accessories — the S band, Body Scale, and Heart Rate Monitor.  For the S Band — think Jawbone.  For the Body Scale think of the already released Withing Wi-Fi Scale. For the Heart Rate monitor, think of the Wahoo Fitness HR monitor.

Why does this all matter?

All of these peripherals have a “been there, done that” feel. But Samsung’s foray into the accessory market is tremendous.  It shows the age of mobile health devices has arrived. Furthermore, Samsung has a knack of taking something that’s been done — and optimizing and mass producing it with wide consumer adoption.

They are applying this same model to mHealth.

When a company that had over $180 billion in net revenue (more than Apple) for 2012 decides to seriously get into mobile health devices, it’s safe to say the age of mobile tracking has definitely arrived.

For a Physician’s guide on the best self tracking devices, check out a compilation review done by one of our writers.


Iltifat Husain, MD

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Mobile App curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is also the founder of iPrescribeApps, a platform for prescribing apps to patients. Dr. Husain has given lectures on digital medicine globally. He went to North Carolina State University for undergrad and went to medical school at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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10 Responses to Era of mobile health tracking definitively arrives, Samsung Galaxy S4 & accessories focuses on mHealth

  1. Benoit Essiambre March 15, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I own a Samsung phone and a few other appliances and while their hardware is usually very good, their software is always half working bloatware designed solely to make nice marketing headlines. It is always embarrassingly unusable.

    Third party apps competing across different Android devices are always much superior to Samsung’s versions and have much more chance of advancing the state of the art of mHealth.

  2. Bodymender_n_ED March 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    One thing to remember about all these so-called accessories
    to a smartphone – POWER. Accessories will rob the phones of their
    limited power resources. Until the battery issues get resolved any
    Android or iPhone medical tool will be extremely limited to battery
    life. A fancy add-on like ultrasound … will flatten a smartphone
    in a blink of an eye.

  3. Frank in Philly March 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Usually the external devices have their own power source – whether it be a rechargable battery via bluetooth. I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

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