Withings Introduces $150 “Activate Pop” Health Tracker

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Ahead of this week’s CES in Las Vegas, Withings introduced its newest health tracker, the Activate Pop. The company introduced its far more expensive Activate tracker in June of last year, but with a $450 price tag, the tracker failed to catch on. Now Withings is back with a comparable offering for $300 less and the new device is worth consideration.

Like all activity trackers, Withings is facing pressure from the emerging smartwatch market, which some have predicted will quickly envelop the activity tracker market, like smartphones did with GPS devices, CD players, and now MP3 players. Fitbit and BASIS responded to the increased pressure by adding new tracking features that will appeal to the fitness enthusiasts that make up its core customer base. Nike responded by shutting down its FuelBand line entirely and moving out of the tracker market. Withings is taking a more moderate approach with its new Activate Pop offering. The company has developed a fitness tracker that looks exactly like a traditional wrist watch, but that delivers the kind of tracking data one would expect from a sophisticated tracker. The old school meets new school form factor is new to the tracker market, and could be popular with a far wider customer base than traditional activity trackers have appealed to thus far.

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The Withings Activate Pop presents a clean watch face with a secondary dial that displays a daily step count on a display that ranges from zero to 10,000 steps. The watch runs on a standard button cell battery that provides eight months of power, meaning that the watch requires no recharging, and comes with no cables. Time is automatically synchronized with the paired smartphone, so the watch automatically updates when entering a new time zone or crossing over daylight savings time. Under the glass, the Activate Pop houses an accelerometer that tracks activity levels including walking, running, and swimming. The app also tracks sleep patterns, distinguishing between light and deep sleep cycles and recording the number of times you wake up at night, and the total duration of sleep. In the morning, the watch relies on a silent alarm feature that vibrates to wake its owner. All of this data is wirelessly synchronized with an iOS app on a paired smartphone.

While the new watch does not track heart rate, which is quickly becoming an entry-level feature for activity trackers and smartwatches, it brings a look that most non-fitness enthusiasts would be comfortable wearing, opening up a potentially larger market for it. At a $150 price point, the new tracker is a compelling choice for anyone looking for their first fitness tracker but nervous that it will end up in their desk drawer after just six months.


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