Update: The Huawei Watch 3 has now launched with Harmony OS. Blood pressure monitoring is not part of the package so we're waiting to see if more devices are released.
A Huawei smartwatch that can monitor blood pressure is set to launch this year, joining Samsung in offering the serious health monitoring feature.
The news comes via a post made on social media site Weibo by He Gang, president of Huawei's mobile phone product line. Gang revealed that after the announcement of a blood pressure research project back in January, the first Huawei smartwatch to measure blood pressure from the wrist has passed the medical device registration test.
Gang added that the next step would be to set up clinical trials with a view to launch a blood pressure monitoring Huawei smartwatch in the second half of 2021.
There's no details on the method Huawei adopted to deliver that blood pressure monitoring, but we'd speculate that it might be a similar method to the one adopted by Samsung.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and the Watch Active 2 watches offer the ability to monitor blood pressure from the built-in optical sensors, but only after it has been calibrated with a cuff-style clinical grade blood pressure monitor first. That calibration needs to be conducted every four weeks to ensure that data remains reliable. There is also the possibility that Huawei has achieved the monitoring without needing a cuff device.
One big question will be whether it will be widely available to use. Like Samsung, Huawei will need to get the appropriate regulatory approval to roll out this feature. It may well be one for new Huawei watches in China first. Back in late 2020, the Chinese tech giant launched the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro with an ECG sensor to deliver serious heart health monitoring, but the support has yet to appear on Huawei watches elsewhere.
Another question is which Huawei smartwatch this blood pressure monitoring tech will debut in. Will it be in a Huawei Watch GT 3? Maybe it'll appear in the rumored Huawei Watch 3, which is speculated to launch with Huawei's Harmony OS operating system.
Whatever watch case it's packed into, it marks another breakthrough for another wearable maker in the quest to offer more big health tech features to watches made for the masses. We know Fitbit has started blood pressure trials, while Zepp Health's (Huami) COO told us Amazfit was also looking to introduce cuff-free blood pressure tracking. There was also the recent launch of the Aktiia band, which promised those blood pressure measurements without needing validation from a traditional cuff device first.
If you've been hoping for a Huawei smartwatch that can keep tabs on your blood pressure to match what Samsung already offers or maybe even better it, then this breakthrough is certainly exciting news.
How we test