In case you somehow missed it, Withings is now officially owned by Nokia. That means the French company's wearable and connected health devices have been absorbed by the resurgent tech giant.
So the Withings Steel HR is now known as the Nokia Steel, the Withings Go is now the Nokia Go and well, you get the idea.
As well as taking over on the hardware front, Nokia has also taken the opportunity to revamp Withings' Health Mate companion app, hoping to improve on what we named our Health and Fitness Platform of the Year at the 2016 Wareable Tech Awards. It's now called Nokia Health Mate (surprise, surprise) and along with a new look, there are some new features along with some old favourites that users will be able to tap into.
We've been playing around with the new Health Mate app to see what's changed and how it's going to help you keep a closer eye on your health and fitness.
Nokia Health Mate app
If you've been using the Health Mate app prior to the Nokia takeover, then you're definitely going to notice the difference in the layout and overall look. The bright colours are gone, replaced with a cleaner, more serious, white UI. Features like the wellness leaf have gone, but you'll still be able to own those badges and set up those reminders. It's just that some of these features now live in different places.
The aim of the game is clearly to declutter, and on that front Nokia does a really good job here. The home screen is now the first stop on the navigation bar and the bottom of the screen and acts as your snapshot of the day. If you swipe down you'll also see data from previous days. We're talking everything from daily steps, average heart rate and any exercises you've logged.
Jump into any logged activity and you can drill a bit deeper into your day and add additional activities. You'll also spot a little X in the corner of the screen. That's where you can manually log an activity, take a heart rate recording using your phone's camera as well as update blood pressure or weight data. That's really all there is to it and that's actually not a bad thing. It's just simple to use.
We do still have a dashboard but it looks very different to the one in the Withings version of the app. This is where you'll find your daily activity, weight readings, heart rate data and sleep data. You can also add additional data for body fat, blood pressure and BMI readings. Again, there's access to manually add data like you can from the homescreen.
This is definitely new for Health Mate users and sees Nokia look at how it can help you to make improvements to various aspects of your health. There's a series of plans that target sleep, body composition (not yet available) and even blood pressure. There's now even a pregnancy tracker program.
You'll need to join the programs and ensure you have the appropriate devices to track the data, which will over time provide trends and data to help you make positive changes. We've been trying out the sleep program, which takes eight weeks and requires at least seven day's worth of data before it can start dishing out the analytics and trends.
This section of the app unsurprisingly remains, and is where you'll be able to pair your compatible Nokia devices, whether that's the Aura sleep monitor or a Steel hybrid smartwatch.
Ways to get more from Nokia Health Mate
Keep chasing those badges
Hit a milestone, you get a badge. Well, a virtual one. This is a staple for most fitness apps but the ones in Health Mate are always satisfying to unlock, whether you've covered the same distance as it takes to get across Loch Ness or the Bahamas. We've not unlocked that Route 66 one yet though. If you want to find your badges, they're now tucked away under the profile tab, where it's also now much easier to share your collection.
Climb that leaderboard
One of the best way to stick with your goals is to add a bit of a competitive element to the proceedings. Joining the leaderboard is now done via the wellness program tab, where you can invite friends to take you on in weekly step challenges.
Sometimes a nudge on your hybrid smartwatch isn't enough. You can still set up reminders related to weight, activity, heart health and sleep. You can quickly set these up to be repeated throughout the entire week, and set the time of the day that you'll get buzzed about them.
Get to know Apple Health
This is especially useful if you're planning to take advantage of some of the more health focused devices that Nokia offers, like the BPM+ blood pressure monitor or Body smart scale. What you'll find is that a raft of data metrics can be supported, whether that's oxygen saturation, sleep analysis or even resting energy. To set up a connection, go to the Profile tab and scroll down to the Apps section. Give the Apple Health icon a tap and choose the data you want to share.
What's coming next
This is really important. Just like all other health and fitness apps, Nokia is planning to add new features, and is already starting to roll out some changes. Some of the extras we can look forward to include MyFitnessPal integration, which we imagine will take a leaf out of Under Armour's book and improve the way you can track your nutrition. It's also looking at building a closer alliance with Runkeeper to store run data inside the Health Mate app, and will even start offering a place to track height data.
What is abundantly clear is that what was once a place largely built for fitness tracker lovers is now somewhere that's more accommodating not just for your own health data, but also for others in your family. The programs are a positive move to offer more actionable insights and the design makeover gets the thumbs up from us so far. We think Withings Health Mate fans will be happy with the changes, and we look forward to seeing whether Nokia can build on the great work that Withings has already done on its connected health platform and wearables.
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