Amazfit smartwatches to get ECG, blood pressure monitoring features

Initially thought of as mini smartphones for wrists, smartwatches have become truly independent, transforming into health-centric accessories that happen to connect with smartphones. That's partly thanks to Apple's push for certain features that other smartwatch makers have unsurprisingly imitated. At the top of that list comes ECG monitoring, just one of the things that smartwatch maker Amazfit is planning to introduce into its own wearables, provided it get US FDA approval, of course.

Although it sounds too close to Amazon, Amazfit has actually been associated more with famed Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi than the e-commerce giant. More formally, however, the company behind it just renamed itself from Huami to Zepp Health and it is hoping its rebranding could help get the US FDA's approval for at least two of the major health tracking features it is planning to include in future smartwatches.

ECG or Electrocardiography is quickly becoming a standard for high-end smartwatches like those from Apple and Samsung. It is, however, also a feature that requires special regulatory approval in each market as it is considered to be a medical technology. Amazfit is optimistic it will have a smoother ride compared to others because it is partnering with Alivcor, the first to get its ECG accessory for the Apple Watch approved by the US FDA.

Zepp Health isn't stopping at ECG, however, and is already setting its sights on one of the trickier monitoring features, blood pressure. While some of Samsung's Galaxy Watches already boast of such a feature, those require taking a measurement using a traditional blood pressure monitor first. Amazfit's version will be completely independent and won't require such a calibration process, presuming all goes well.

The company's biggest and perhaps wildest ambition, however, is COVID-19 detection, something it claims to have already been working on in private since the pandemic broke out in China. It claims that its data and analysis correctly predicted that Spain would experience a huge explosion of cases last year and that study has now attracted the interest of Chinese authorities to work on larger-scale trials.