Samsung to focus on AI and wearables more than robots

Samsung says that the majority of its efforts moving forward will be in the category of wearables rather than robots, in a move that separates Samsung from LG and other rivals. T
Deidre Richardson
Jan 14, 2017

Samsung is a veteran in the mobile market, and the company has the place it does in Android because the company has been very smart at recognizing consumer desires and meeting them in innovative ways that anticipate consumer needs before consumers express them. The tech world currently is introducing tech enthusiasts and consumers to a number of devices that are said to be "the future" - among which are robots and wearables.

Samsung has dabbled into robots, particularly robot vacuum cleaners, but the company says that the majority of its efforts moving forward will be in the category of wearables rather than robots, in a move that separates Samsung from LG and other rivals. The Korean giant came to this decision after seeing greater demand for wearables at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017) than robots.

"The roles of home robots recently introduced by home appliance companies can be realized by adding artificial intelligence (AI) to existing devices such as smartphones, TVs and IoT refrigerators. Rather, we believe that health care based on wearable appliances has more future growth potential," a Samsung Electronics Home Division senior representative said.

"We are preparing robots for factory automation. There are many inconveniences of living when people become older. I think the wearable device business is what we are interested in and can do well," said Samsung Electronics CE Division head Yoon Boo-keun.

The company's decision after CES 2017 was made not only because of CES, but also other factors such as examining trends in the US home healthcare market. RBC Capital Markets and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) says that the home healthcare market will grow from $40 billion in 2016 to $54 billion by 2019. Though wearables have not taken off with the same meteoric rise as smartphones, they are becoming more commonplace than robots (robotics is still too new for mass consumer adoption).

Samsung has been invested in wearables for some time. The company has been actively involved in wearables since 2013 with the Galaxy Gear, though creating true "smartphone watches" existed some before that. Samsung announced the Gear Fit in 2014 and created the second-generation fitness band last year, called the Gear Fit2, that runs Tizen.

At CES 2017, Samsung partnered with fitness company Under Armour to bring UA's own Connected Fitness App Suite to its own Tizen-powered Gear S3 and Gear S2 smartwatches and Gear Fit2 fitness band that measures exercise, nutrition, and track sleep at CES 2017. Additionally, Samsung has also developed home skin care solutions by way of its own C-Lab in-house venture at CES, and spin-off company Welt that has raised $730,000 USD has developed a smart belt that measures calorie consumption and helps with food consumption.

This doesn't mean that Samsung won't continue to dabble into robots and their role in improving the lives of those with medical conditions, but the Korean giant is placing the majority of its interest in wearables. Samsung has made a similar turn from OLED TVs to QLED TVs with its recent announcement at CES 2017 due to market trend observance.

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