Nokia buys Withings; what does it mean for the consumer?

Nokia has announced its entry in the digital health products market by acquiring Withings, a popular maker of beautifully-designed activity trackers, home and baby monitors and blood pressure monitors.

The acquisition should allow Nokia to use its in-house talent and money to continue to build new trackers and home products to let you keep track of your health and offer you ways to keep yourself in shape in the future.

"Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well designed and already helping people live healthier lives. Combining their award-winning products and talented people with the world-class expertise and innovation of Nokia Technologies uniquely positions us to lead the next wave of innovation in digital health," said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies.

Withings has till now been best known for its Activité range of smartwatches which offer convenient and quick tools to track your daily routines. While the premium Withings Activité smartwatch came with a sapphire crystal screen, a PVD coated metal and leather straps, the less-pricey Activité Pop offered a glass screen and silicone straps while sporting the same activity tracking tools. The latest Activité Steel smartwatch offers 24/7 automatic activity tracking using Withings' Connected Movement™ Technology and works with a Health Mate app in your smartphone which offers regular updates on steps taken, distance covered, hours slept and calories burnt while swimming.

"Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing. We're excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world," said Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings.

According to research firm Gartner, thw worldwide wearables market will grow from 232 million units sold in 2015 to 322 million unites by 2017, a growth of 39 per cent. The fitness wearables market alone will account for 109 million sales by 2017. Withings boasted a 4 per cent share of the worldwide wearables market last year.

The acquisition of Withings, which cost Nokia EUR 170 million, will be completed by September of this year following which we expect Nokia to launch a range of new products focussed on fitness, activity tracking and monitoring blood pressure levels.

This isn't the first time that Nokia has involved itself with health products. Before selling the Lumia business to Microsoft, Nokia launched SensorCore, an activity tracking solution compatible with a range of Lumia handsets. SensorCore offered users the ability to count steps, monitor their activities and to track their movements through APIs without resorting to GPS.

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