With a precise focus on health and fitness, Withings’ wearables are ideal for the athlete inside each and every one of us.
Located in France, Withings is a consumer electronics company focused on wireless health tracking devices for individuals. The company was founded in June of 2008 by a team of three men already involved in the telecom and technology industry.
Their first product was introduced in 2009 and was the WiFi Body Scale, which enabled the user to measure weight and fat mass and have this data uploaded to the Withings where it could connect to various health and social media sites, like Twitter, so customers could share their weight loss goals.
Apps are available through the company to access the scales data using Android, Blackberry and iOS devices. The critical acclaim received resulted in a venture from Ventech, a Paris based angel funder.
With this investment, Withings moved onto their next two projects: a blood pressure monitor and baby monitor. Like the scale, the results of each could be uploaded onto a mobile device and shared with various sites. Withings received numerous awards for these wireless medical innovations and has now moved forward again, towards the production of fitness tracking devices.
In 2014, Withings launched its first wearable: the Pulse Ox. Designed for fitness tracking, it was equipped with basic programs like step counting, distance tracking, a calorie burning calculator and a sleep tracker. Unusual is the easy-to use-run analyser, heart rate monitor and blood oxygen level monitor.
That same year, Withings released its smartwatch: The Activite. It looked more like a watch, yet provided the same functions as the Pulse Ox. Using Bluetooth, you could sync the Activite smartwatch to the Withings Health app on your smartphone where your daily fitness activities could be monitored. While it didn’t have nearly the number of features as other smartwatches, it was ideal for use as a fitness tracking wearable.
The next generation is the Activite Pop, available in azure, black and white. At a third of the cost of the original, this is an appealing option for the budget-minded who still wants a nice looking fitness tracking device. All of the technical features are there, except that this watch is not Swiss made, and doesn’t have the double glass dome like the original does. It’s still comfortable to wear and built well though, despite not being crafted with the same precision.
The Withings app
The app used in conjunction with the Withings’ fitness tracking products is easy to navigate with many features to explore. It breaks down activities into clusters of days or weeks and, when looked at in the day mode, allows you to clearly see bursts of individual activities and when you completed them. Since the same site is used for other Withings health products you’ll see some empty sections, but you can get extra data using third party apps.
Withings smartwatch compatible devices
When first released, Withings smartwatches were only able to sync with Apple products. It’s since updated its software and can now be paired with iOS 7 and above or Android device 4.3 or higher.
Bluetooth low energy is needed for the smartphone to talk with the smartwatch.
Withings’ competitors in the smartwatch industry
As a company, Withings is a provider of specific health related products. Fitbit is one of their competitors for fitness tracking devices along with Pebble. Another company, Body Trace, produces a scale similar to the one made by Withings and iHealth Lab, and has remote blood pressure monitoring. Qardio is another similar company focusing only on wearables with medical applications. Still, Withings controlled 4% of the smartwatch market for 2014.
Other smart products from Withings
The Withings Aura
The Aura is a unique device that tracks and improves your sleep patterns. Using a pad underneath the mattress, a bedside monitor and an app for a smartphone, lights and sounds lull you to sleep and then revert to wake you up in the morning.
Home monitoring from Withings
Withings also has a home monitoring device with video camera that streams to your mobile phone. Through the app you can zoom in, and move the image around for a better view. It’s also equipped with a speaker and microphone for instant communication.
Withings has been building its reputation using a variety of products in various applications. Their primary focus is on health though, which is obvious from the two smartwatches already developed. You might not be able to respond to a phone call, but with a Withings smartwatch you can keep a close eye on your health and fitness.
Despite not being a well known name, Withings has made great strides in a short period of time with its wearable tech. This is a company to continue to look out for, as they are sure to have more innovative products on the horizon.