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Withings is now Nokia: The future of health tech is in safe hands

There's a lot to look forward to

David Phelan
Wednesday 21 June 2017 16:40 BST
The comprehensive Withings smartphone app has already been updated with a wholly new, entirely elegant-looking interface
The comprehensive Withings smartphone app has already been updated with a wholly new, entirely elegant-looking interface

There are few names in the world of tech more trusted than Nokia.

Many of us grew up with the brand as the go-to company for the easiest-to-use, most reliable, best-designed mobile phones.

And French company Withings in recent years has built a fearsome reputation for brilliant home appliances that had wireless connectivity before other companies even got into the smart home game.

Its bathroom scales tell you your weight, fat content, water content, bone mass, muscle mass, heart rate, pulse wave velocity (a measure that's related to heart health), and even show recent trends and what today’s weather is like, all in the space of a few seconds as you stand bleary-eyed on them in the morning.

Other gadgets included a cuff that can record your blood pressure, a super-accurate thermometer and an elegant smart watch with, get this, proper analogue hands and a dial that counts your steps.

In fact, about the only negative you could come up with about Withings was not knowing how to pronounce its name.

Well, that problem’s gone because now the company has been integrated into its parent, Nokia.

Simultaneously the range of smart wireless things (that phrase was the inspiration for the Withings name, by the way) has increased to include a new set of bathroom scales, the Nokia Body BMI Wi-Fi connected scale, which is noticeably less expensive than others in the range (£55) and shows trends for weight gain or loss, access to BMI trends and data and more. It recognises up to eight users, all synchronised to the smartphone app.

There's also a new blood pressure cuff, the Nokia BPM+, which is compact enough to be portable enough to travel with. It's designed so you can share data with a medical professional. It'll sell for £115.

And the comprehensive Withings smartphone app has been updated with a wholly new, entirely elegant-looking interface.

I have to say it’s not quite ready yet. I’ve been using the Withings apps for six years and it’s been utterly reliable, if not the best-looking app out there.

Now I’ve updated to the much better-looking Nokia app and, well, the data for the whole of 2016 is missing from an overview. And the graph of my weight is dodgy. Look at the graph and it seems unable to accurately show my weight in stones and pounds. Tap an individual weight and it then finds the right figure.

I’ve spoken to Nokia about this and it’s a known issue, which mostly vanishes if you measure your weight in kilograms. Fair enough, though let's hope they solve that soon, as one of the standouts of the Withings app was that it accommodated imperial weights.

Switching to metric means all of my 2016 data comes back. When sorted, this could be a significant improvement over the Withings app, but for now, it needs more work.

That apart, the combination of Nokia and Withings teases a promising future for connected health technology.

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