Samsung’s press release says the feature will give users “more detailed insight” into their cycles but is a little vague on what those insights are. Advanced period tracking as well as digital fertility features come in several forms. For instance, Apple uses the temperature sensors on its Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra to give menstruating users retrospective ovulation estimates. However, it doesn’t use that temperature data to provide future ovulation predictions. Conversely, the Oura Ring introduced temperature-based period predictions with the Gen 3 version of its smart ring. Other wearable companies, like Garmin, offer period and pregnancy tracking.
When asked by The Verge to clarify the new features in this integration, Samsung said that it’s primarily to help people view their cycles in an easy, convenient, and holistic way — which includes retrospective ovulation estimates and period predictions.
Samsung added infrared temperature sensors to the Galaxy Watch 5 series, but this will be the first new feature to use them. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Samsung also provided some practical details about the feature: Galaxy Watch 5 or Watch 5 Pro owners won’t have to download a separate app to access it. Instead, it’ll be part of the Samsung Health app. This tracks with previous Samsung integrations with apps like Calm and Sleep Cycle to help flesh out its mindfulness and sleep offerings.
The company also noted the feature has received approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, complies with Europe’s CE marking requirements, and is registered with the FDA. FDA registration isn’t the same thing as clearance or approval. It only means that the product has been registered in the FDA’s database. But since Natural Cycles’ algorithm has received FDA clearance, Samsung only needs to register the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro as supported devices. The feature will be available in 32 countries, including the US, in Q2 2023.
It might seem like Samsung’s lagging behind Apple and Oura in this area, but it’s a marked improvement when you consider it took the company until 2020 to add basic period tracking. Fitbit was the first to add period tracking in 2018, followed by Apple and Garmin in 2019. Conversely, temperature-based period tracking on wearables isn’t a widespread feature just yet. The fact that Samsung managed to roll something out less than six months after Apple — that’s progress.