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Samsung Galaxy S5 Won’t be Considered a Medical Device in South Korea

March 17, 2014 - Written By Eric Abent

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes equipped with a few features centered around fitness. Perhaps the most notable of these features is the included heart rate monitor. For a while, it looked like this list of fitness focused offerings would net the Galaxy S5 certification as a medical advice in some places around the world, but today we’re finding out that isn’t the case, at least not in South Korea. The medical ministry of Seoul has denied the Samsung Galaxy S5 certification as a medical device, even though it should technically be categorized as one according to South Korea’s laws.

We doubt Samsung will mind missing out on certification, as it would mean a more rigorous testing phase for the smartphone. That in turn could result in delays, which would be a big no-no for a company looking to launch its latest flagship device in so many regions around the world on the same day. If health officials in Seoul would have opted to categorize the Galaxy S5 as a medical device, it seems likely Samsung would have argued that the fitness features included with the Galaxy S5 were not intended for medical use, but rather for personal use.

That’s part of the problem: the Galaxy S5 should indeed be classified as a medical device according to South Korea’s laws, but Seoul’s health agency is excluding the phone from the category. The agency also says that it will revise laws to make a distinction between hearth rate monitors that are intended to be used in a medical setting and ones that meant to be used on an individual to individual basis. It’s an interesting little turn of events, when you think about it. Not only have smartphones taken computers and put them in our pockets, but they’re now also making health officials revise laws that revolve around what constitutes classification as a medical device. Don’t be surprised if you see more stories popping up like this, too, as countries around the world have different laws dealing with medical equipment. We could very well see more countries grapple with the problem of whether not a smartphone equipped with a heart rate sensor is a medical device, so stay tuned.