Nokia retires Withings brand, introduces redesigned digital health lineup

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After operating a little under 10 years, Withings, the French digital health company, is no more. Its products, or at least most of them, will live on under a new brand — Nokia.

Nokia, once king of the mobile phone market, bought Withings last year for $191 million. At CES 2017, the French company announced it would retire the Withings brand name in favor of its own. The reason? In marketing surveys, the company found the Nokia brand name had 95 percent awareness globally. In India specifically, 99 percent of those surveyed had heard of Nokia before.

“There’s a great positive sentiment,” Rob Le Bras-Brown, chief marketing officer at Nokia Technologies, told Digital Trends. “People love the brand, and they want to love the brand more. When we asked them, ‘what does the brand mean to you,’ they say ‘trust, reliability, and quality.’ We couldn’t wish for better attributes when it comes to a digital health line.”

Nokia is pulling Withings products from retail stores, so you will no longer be able to find Withings-branded products from official sellers. Instead, you can find most of the same products under the Nokia name in redesigned packages. Nokia’s digital health range now includes: Nokia Steel (Withings Steel), Go (Withings Go), Nokia Body Cardio (Withings Body Cardio), Nokia Body+ (Withings Body), Nokia BPM (Withings BPM), Nokia Home (Withings Home), and Nokia Thermo (Withings Thermo).

But there are two new products as well — the Nokia Body and the Nokia BPM+. The Nokia Body strips down a lot of the features of the Body+ and the Body Cardio to offer basic smart scale features at a low cost. Namely, you can sync up to eight people’s weight, get coaching from the Health Mate app, and see your progress during each weigh-in. It is available now for $60.

The BPM+ is a blood pressure monitor that is more compact than the BPM. Le Bras-Brown said customers requested for a BPM that was easier to carry, considering they sometimes need to measure their blood pressure several times a day. The data is logged through the Health Mate app and it is shareable with medical professionals.

The third “new” product to come from this brand transition is a redesigned Health Mate app. The app houses data from most of the products above, and you can share access with family members. It also now includes coaching programs, but Le Bras-Brown said it’s more about health than fitness.

The Withings Steel HR, an analog watch with smart features, also has been rebranded to Nokia Steel HR — but it won’t be available until the fall due to some quality issues in the manufacturing process.

“As part of the final manufacturing ramp-up, we have seen a small, but unacceptable level of Steel HR product fail to reach our quality standards,” Nokia told Digital Trends. “Although the number of devices involved is low, we want all Nokia customers to have the best possible experience with our products and therefore we are instituting modifications to the production process.”

When asked if current Withings-branded Steel HR devices were affected by the same issue, the company said, “a small number of Withings Steel HR units have manifested this issue periodically.” But the reported problem does not affect the functionality of the watch, and it’s “purely aesthetic.”

“We have a comprehensive customer service program in place to respond quickly to any customers contacting us who are experiencing the issue,” Nokia said.

The rest of the lineup, including the new BPM+ and the Nokia Body, are available at Best Buy, Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as Nokia’s website. The company said the products will also be available at CVS, Target, and Babies ‘R’ Us soon.

Apple stopped selling Withings products earlier this year after Nokia filed a lawsuit claiming patent infringements. The two companies buried the hatchet and it seems like Nokia-branded products will soon be available at Apple stores as well.

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