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Samsung doesn’t want regulators to see the Galaxy Note 4 as a medical device

Published Sep 12th, 2014 7:30PM EDT
Galaxy Note 4 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Samsung may have an unexpected Galaxy Note 4 launch problem on its hands, as authorities in certain markets may look at the recently announced smartphone as a medical device, thanks to the multiple built-in sensors that allow users to measure certain health-related parameters. ZDNet Korea says the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety revealed that Samsung requested the Galaxy Note 4 not to be treated as a medical device, in order to avoid health regulations that could cause launch delays.

FROM EARLIER: This is when you’ll be able to finally buy the Galaxy Note 4

In addition to the heart rate sensor, the Galaxy Note 4 also has a blood oxygen saturation sensor and an ultraviolet sensor, additional tools that can transform the phablet into a medical device.

The publication says that Samsung didn’t announce more details on the oxygen saturation sensor, but that the company said the sensor can be disabled if needed in certain markets.

As for the UV sensor, Samsung mobile executive vice president Lee Young-hee said at a press conference in Berlin that “based on our research, several countries have high incidence rate of skin cancer, so we decided to have ultraviolet rays sensor.”

Samsung isn’t the only company interested in adding more health and fitness features to its mobile and wearable devices. Apple’s Watch was rumored to be more advanced than other smartwatches, and offer users access to more advanced medical sensors that could measure heart rate, blood sugar and analyze sweat and even UV exposure. However, the device Apple unveiled on Tuesday only has an advanced heart rate sensor on board.

A recent Reuters report revealed that Apple’s future Watch generations may pack richer health sensor, with some people speculating that Apple is interested in avoiding health regulation for the time being with the current Watch models, which is why the company might have opted to only include a heart rate sensor in the device.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is expected to launch in various markets in early October, and ZDNet Korea has not specified how local health regulators will treat the phablet in its home country.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.