As markets mature, many companies and brands cycle in and out of prominence while other ventures merge or are acquired by others. Unfortunately, some firms disappear from the market. And then there is Withings. We’ve followed Withings from its first entries in the wearable health tech space to its merger/acquisition by Nokia, and its eventual buyback by Withings’ founder.
Withings recently launched its first wearable since the company re-emerged as its own brand. The Steel HR Sport hybrid digital and analog smartwatch isn’t as noteworthy for ground-breaking features as for its representation of the firm’s re-entry into the wearable health tech space. The original Steel HR debuted while Withings was a division of Nokia. The new model, like the original, measures heart rate and sleep phases as well as metrics for walking, running, and swimming. Both versions also store and report data transmitted by the watch via Bluetooth on the associated Health Mate smartphone app.
The Steel HR Sport adds tracking for more than 30 different activities, from ice hockey to yoga. The new model is also the first with GPS connectivity for real-time maps and displays for distance, pace, and elevation on a smartwatch while walking, running, or cycling. User VO2 fitness level assessments, a fitness industry standard measure of the heart and muscles ability to convert oxygen to energy during exercise, also debut with the Steel HR Sport.
The earlier watch allowed app notifications just for calls, text messages, and events, but the Steel HR Sport can now receive notifications from more than 100 apps, from flight alerts to breaking news to social media messages from family and friends.
Withings may not have been a profitable acquisition for Nokia, but it’s gratifying to see the company back in the game under its original management.