The Galaxy Watch will make you a better person

Alanna-Cotton
Alanna Cotton Samsung

To hear Samsung’s Alanna Cotton tell it, the Galaxy Watch isn’t just a smartwatch: It’s going to transform your life. So forget about fitness tracking, which is just one piece in the puzzle. And forget about notifications (they’re a little annoying anyway, aren’t they?).

The Galaxy Watch, she says, can make you a better you.

“If you think about the whole idea of mindfulness and really living a more holistic life, we feel like technology and specifically wearables can be at the center and really help people get from where they are to where they want to be. And you know, it’s gorgeous,” Cotton says with a laugh.

“We all know what having a rested body does for having a really calm mind.”

Samsung’s website echoes that sentiment, noting that the Watch can help you “live a stronger, smarter life.” Hell, if it can do half of that, it’s a steal at just $349. How much would you pay to lead a better life? But can it actually do that? Cotton makes a compelling case for it. As Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America, she runs most of the company’s gadget businesses — wearables, tablets, mobile audio, and VR, to name a few. Following Samsung’s splashy Unpacked event in Brooklyn this week, Digital Trends sat down with Cotton to learn more about the Watch.

So can it do all of that stuff? Maybe. And do I have to deal with Bixby? Yes, definitely. (sorry.)

From fitness to wellness — with a few steps in between

“We’re excited about the impact [wearables] can have on people’s lives,” Cotton says. That’s all well and good, but what does that mean at the end of the day?

For starters, there’s the fitness stuff, because of course there is. Fitness has been the driving force behind wearables, the lone bright spot in a market that has looked simply atrocious. I wrote last year about the sorry state of wearables after Jawbone bit the dust and the drums sounded for TomTom; Intel finally fled the scene in April, abandoning several hundred million dollars invested in wearables.

Samsung Unpacked New York City Galaxy Watch
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Still, fitness wearables are handy – some would say necessary. Garmin thrives, the Apple Watch is surprisingly popular as a fitness tracker, and Fitbit is just fine (ignore the stock price). The Galaxy Watch doubles down on fitness, with a new feature that automatically detects several types of fitness activities – no need to fuss with buttons to record that next run, in other words. It also ticks all the right boxes for athletes, Cotton told Digital Trends.

It’s not just a fitness tracker, it’s a … spirit tracker? A mind-and-body tracker?

“A lot of consumers are creating space for health and wellness in their actual physical homes, and we feel like this device can be a central part of that. Whether you’re in front of the TV practicing yoga at the end of a very long day to unwind, or you take it for your pace out on a run down by the river, the device is meant to go with you wherever you are.”

But wearables can do more than just fitness. After all, an Apple Watch saved a woman’s life recently. And the Galaxy Watch really doubles down on overall health, Cotton explains.

“A lot of studies are being published on mindfulness right now. So the idea is that a watch can help you detect and manage your stress levels, offer you some immediate solutions to help manage that, and hopefully develop really healthy routines over time to be able to improve your quality of life.”

It’s not just a fitness tracker, it’s a … spirit tracker? A mind-and-body tracker? Wearables have tried to be all sorts of things – one even tried to monitor your food intake from your wrist – but we’ve never seen one measure your spiritual side. To do so, the device features a heart-rate monitor that will detect when your heart rate goes up, and give you guided breathing exercises as a way to manage stress. Sure, Apple Watches have similar features. It also walks you through guided meditation and helps track your calorie intake. It even watches while you sleep.

“We all know what having a rested body does for having a really calm mind. It’s a big part of the equation of wellness. So the ability to do all sorts of sleep tracking and monitoring so you can really develop healthy routines” is crucial, Cotton says.

The 800-pound Apple in the room

To talk about the wearable space and not mention the Apple Watch is like talking about salads and not mentioning lettuce. Apple still refuses to detail sales figures, but analysts say the company’s smallest product category is also its fastest growing. One of the reasons for that is the ecosystem thing: Apple’s devices work best with Apple’s other devices. Sure, the AirPods will work with an Android phone, but Apple doesn’t make control software for the Android platform, so good luck, you know, adjusting the settings and stuff. Does Samsung plan a similar strategy?

In a word: no.

“We know that the seamlessness of the connectivity works better with Samsung devices, but also we’re not going to sacrifice consumers’ ability to choose and customize the experience for them,” Cotton told us.

“For us, at the center of what we do is all about consumer choice. We want people to be able to personalize their experiences, such that their technology works around their life versus the other way around.”

As evidence, she cites the SmartThings platform, which is compatible with hundreds of different devices. Broad compatibility is sure to increase ease of use for consumers, yet another way the Samsung Watch may increase your overall well-being. But will it make you a better person? Only time will tell – and there’s probably an app for that.

Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 — will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Outdoors

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Mobile

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Mobile

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.