Not going it alone: Samsung brings S-Health app to non-Samsung Android phones

Back in 2012, Samsung debuted its S-Health app, a useful way to track calories, steps, heart rate and more. It's now available for any Android 4.4 device or better.

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For years, Samsung has taken an Apple-like approach with its Galaxy S Android devices: Many Samsung apps and services are only available for Samsung hardware. That's changed of late.

First, Samsung opened up the use of its Gear smartwatches with non-Samsung phones and now it's making its S-Health app broadly available.

Android Central noticed the change via the app's description in the Google Play Store. S-Health now works on all Samsung phones since the company's Galaxy S3 and also on any Android device running Android 4.4 or better.

That means it doesn't matter if you have an Android phone from Motorola, HTC, LG, Sony or a host of other phone makers: If Samsung's S-Health appeals to you, you can install and use it provided your phone has a supported version of Android.

Samsung introduced S-Health alongside the Galaxy S3 back in 2012; long before Apple Health arrived. It does much the same as Apple's software though. You can track steps, heart-rate, blood sure, caloric intake and more. S-Health doesn't quite capture all of the details that Apple Health does, but it's still very capable.

For Android users, I'd say it's even better than Google Fit, which is the native Android health-tracking app Google provides for Android devices and Android Wear smartwatches.

Samsung has long tried to build a sub-ecosystem of its own on the back of Android, doing so through its own devices. With the company's smartphone sales flagging though, it can't keep the walls up around its software if it wants more users of Samsung services.

Will Samsung grow its software user-based through a more open approach? Perhaps, but if it doesn't even try, it runs the risk of becoming another "me-too" Android player instead of a market leader.