Any company that wants to create a smartwatch is really faced with three choices: Get into Android Wear, try to do something similar to Android Wear or go in a completely different direction. Withings started down the path of the third approach with the US$450 Activité announced in June.
Following up on that high-end device, Withings announced the US$150 Withings Activité Pop just in time for CES. The new watch will be available in March.
If you’re familiar with Withings it’s probably from the company’s smart scales that deliver regular updates on your friend’s weight via Twitter. Beyond those auto-tweeting devices, Withings is building up its portfolio of step counters and wearable devices such as the Withings Pulse and the aforementioned Activité smartwatch.
Why this matters: Withings is trying to differentiate itself from the current crop of smartwatches by pairing the style of a classical watch with activity tracker functionality. The Activité line isn’t like Android Wear-style smartwatches that deliver email notifications or alerts from your Nest thermometer at home. Instead, the new Pop is a traditional looking analogue watch that’s packed with sensors enabling the device to track your sleep, steps, runs and swimming activity.
It’s what’s inside that counts
The Activité Pop is water resistant up to 30 metres and can also automatically update to the correct time when you cross into a new time zone.
In addition to the two-handed analogue watch, there’s also a smaller dial that displays your progress towards daily goals such as a step count. When the goal is achieved, the watch vibrates to let you know you’ve hit your target.
The biggest difference between the Activité Pop and its predecessor, the Activité, is that you aren’t paying for the fancy pedigree of a Swiss-made watch with a stainless-steel case, sapphire glass and leather strap.
Instead, you get a non-Swiss made, PVD-coated metal case with a silicone strap. The Pop comes in blue, grey and beige, and Withings says that a line of swappable straps is coming soon. The wearable runs on a standard watch battery for up to eight months at a pop.
Like other smartwatches, the Pop pairs with a companion smartphone app for setting goals, viewing past and current activity data, and so on. Right now, the Withings Health Mate app is iOS only, but an Android version is forthcoming.
Withings says the device will be available in a wide release online in March.