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Samsung smart devices might get a new feature you won’t find on any iPhone

Published Mar 18th, 2019 10:12AM EDT
Samsung air quality

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Samsung’s SmartThings platform is already the hub that connects myriad consumer electronics products from the tech giant. The Internet of Things-based platform includes a smartphone app that makes it possible to easily monitor and automate many aspects of the connected home, which by itself of course is a huge, lucrative market category. However, there are indications Samsung may also be about to expand its SmartThings range of solutions soon, using it allow smart devices like the company’s watches and smartphones to measure the air quality around you.

Samsung filed a trademark application this past Friday for “SmartThings Air” with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The application, which was spotted by Dutch tech news blog LetsGoDigital, includes in its description that the idea is for “Software for operating home automation systems, including lighting, heating, air conditioning, alarm and other safety equipment.” Also envisioned as being part of this setup are “sensors for measuring the air quality for monitoring, control and automation of the environment.” That measurement would encompass “volatile gases, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, pollen or toxins in the air,” as well as sensors for detecting the temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, oxygen and nitrogen concentration in the air.

This would seem to suggest smartphones, smartwatches and tablets potentially being able to measure air quality in their owner’s immediate environment. An ability that would include sending an alert or notification when something dangerous like carbon monoxide is detected — something that, when you think about it, is the kind of thing that makes a lot of sense given that most of us either keep our phones in our hands, on our person or beside us at night while we’re sleeping. Meaning, they’re the perfect tools to measure and keep us safe from dangers like this.

This kind of thing also shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the proliferation of inexpensive sensors and the ubiquity of mobile devices was already leading some observers to conclude we would eventually see a radical “democratization” of air quality data. That sentiment, in fact, was basically the headline of a CityLab piece from 2018, which noted that technology advancements promise a leap forward in terms of getting a better look at what areas of the country are faring well (and not-so-well) when it comes to air quality. That’s thanks to the fact that the technology is more easily obtainable and deployable than ever these days, even by ordinary members of the public.

Given that this is only a patent, we’ll of course have to wait and see if Samsung decides to move forward with a commercialization of this idea — which would take the ability it already offers via myriad devices and solutions and bring it to mobile products like smartphones.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.