Samsung’s smartwatches get closer to offering blood pressure measurements, but there’s still a long way to go

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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 has taken another big step toward offering blood pressure monitoring, a feature Samsung has been promising since the original Galaxy Watch Active was released in 2019. This week saw Samsung’s Health Monitor app get regulatory approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), the first government agency to do so — but there’s a whole lot of caveats that bring to question how useful Samsung’s measuring will really be.

The first hurdle is that the app has only been approved in South Korea, meaning that users in other countries will still have to wait for it to be approved by their own governmental agencies. And even in South Korea, Samsung says that the app won’t be available until the third quarter of this year and only on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (although it hopes to expand the feature to upcoming Galaxy Watch devices in the future).

The other catch is that Samsung’s blood pressure measurement app won’t serve as a replacement for traditional measurement cuffs. As VentureBeat notes, users will have to calibrate the app at least every four weeks by manually inputing a reading from a standard blood pressure cuff, with each calibration requiring three separate readings for accuracy.

That means that Samsung’s app — whenever it does launch — will likely only serve to help augment regular blood pressure tracking, as opposed to serving as a full-fledged replacement device for the function.

Still, the announcement of an official app with regulatory approval (albeit for just a single country) is a big step forward for Samsung. It previously only offered blood pressure measurement on the Galaxy Active and Active 2 through a very limited opt-in study with an app called My BP Lab developed with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

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