• Samsung is launching a new smartwatch called the Galaxy Watch 3 that offers advanced health features like fall detection, blood pressure monitoring, and the ability to take an ECG.
  • Apple introduced fall detection and ECG monitoring on the Apple Watch Series 4 it launched in 2018.
  • The Galaxy Watch 3 launch is a move to remain competitive with Apple, which dominates the smartwatch industry according to estimates from market research firms.
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Samsung is making a bigger effort to challenge Apple's dominance of the smartwatch industry with its new Galaxy Watch 3, which comes loaded with additional health features like fall detection and ECG monitoring.

It's another sign that Samsung, one of the largest wearables makers in the world, is focusing on health capabilities to remain competitive with Apple and Fitbit.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch 3 on Wednesday alongside its new Galaxy Note 20 smartphones, a new pair of wireless earbuds, and two new tablets. The watch comes with a new feature called Trip Detection, which sounds a lot like the fall detection capability that Apple introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018. Trip Detection can tell when you've taken a hard fall and enables you to send a message to designated emergency contacts.

For users in South Korea, the Galaxy Watch 3 will also be capable of taking an electrocardiogram (ECG) and monitoring blood pressure. Apple also first introduced the ability to take an ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4 using the watch's electrical heart sensor. The Apple Watch, however, cannot measure blood pressure.

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 will get another health-oriented feature not found on the Apple Watch: the ability to take SpO2 readings, which can be used to check your blood oxygen levels. Fitbit already offers this feature, and Apple is rumored to be working on it for the Apple Watch as well.

Like the Apple Watch and Fitbit devices, Samsung's new Galaxy Watch will also be capable of taking VO2 max levels for measuring aerobic fitness levels.

It'll also support other more basic health-oriented features like the ability to monitor heart rate, activity metrics, and sleep. 

Apple was the top seller of smartwatches in the first quarter of 2020, accounting for 36.3% of global smartwatch shipments according to research firm Canalys. Samsung, by comparison, placed in third with 12.4% of the market, following Huawei which placed in second. Samsung's new smartwatch is also further evidence that tech giants are delving more deeply into the health space to help their wearable devices stand out.

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