Nokia’s acquisition of health and fitness specialists Withings has given us a few ideas about new products we could see in the future…
It’s official, Nokia is buying Withings, with the former phone giant looking to accelerate its growth in the health and fitness space having recently passed up its smartphone arm to Microsoft. It will give Withings a lot more than the €170 million (£132m) acquisition fee, though. The one time great still has more than a few techy tricks up its sleeve to help revolutionise Withings’ existing array of devices.
With the Withings Activité leading the connected health specialist’s current product roster – alongside smart scales, heart rate monitors, digital thermometers, and home monitoring tech – we can’t wait to see how Nokia can further mould its strong foundations into something truly special.
Here’s a few Nokia inspired Withings products we’d love to see. Fingers crossed the French and Finnish firms are already working on them.
1. A Snake-based fitness tracker
Exercise can be pretty boring. Pounding the pavement hour after hour, mile after mile can take as much a toll on your boredom threshold as your legs and lungs. What better way to keep fit while having fun than to gamify the whole experience then? And when games and Nokia are used in the same sentence, that only means one thing: Snake.
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This wrist-worn fitness tracker will combine Snake with integrated GPS skills, transforming your local park into a giant gaming grid. Instead of running laps, your wearable’s screen will drop checkpoints around the park that you have to run to in order to feed your snake – watch out for crossing your ever-growing digital tail though.
There are multiplayer possibilities too, with your weekend jog seeing all park runners synced up for a giant game of multi-Snake; first to the checkpoint wins the point.
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2. Home security camera with Carl Zeiss lens and pureview camera
After phones donned their geek glasses and went all ‘smart’, Nokia, sadly, had few hits to rival the likes of the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. Where its generally disappointing smartphones often excelled, however, was camera quality – especially when you look at devices like the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520.
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These smartphone snappers would hold their own against many flagship phones today, but we’ve got a better idea of where they can be put to use: in Withings’ next range of home-monitoring security cameras.
Adding a PureView camera with some special Carl Zeiss optics would let you better keep tabs on your home and pets while you’re out and about. Plus, with such crisp visuals, the days of those pathetically grainy mid-burglary mug shots would be long gone. Burglars beware.
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3. A VR fitness platform
Snake-based smart runs still not doing it for you? Don’t worry, Nokia and Withings can pool their resources to create another revolutionary fitness platform – a virtual one no less. Since ditching its phone-making efforts, Nokia has been making waves in the 360-degree VR camera space. And now it’s time to put those VR skills to good use.
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Pool the Nokia Ozo’s VR camera skills with Withings’s fitness tracking abilities, and you’ve got the foundations of the first true virtual reality fitness platform. Sync your Oculus Rift to your Withings app-enhanced treadmill or static bike and you’ll be able to run the London Marathon or cycle the Tour de France routes from your living room.
The possibilities are endless. Get a set of smart weights and you’ll be able to enjoy a workout session with Anthony Joshua or Arnold Schwarzenegger, and who doesn’t want that?
4. Smartwatch with interchangeable facias
Withings already offers a fair number of smartwatch devices. Whichever model in the Activité range you plump for, there’s all manner of strap and body colour options. That’s Level 3 of the smartwatch customisation race though; we need Nokia’s help to crank this all the way to 11. And to do that they’re going to have to kick it old school, like Nokia 3310 old school.
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That means interchangeable facias – y’know, those pop-on, pop-off bodies we all coveted in the early ‘00s. The ones that came in every possible design imaginable, and a few more besides. We could have footy team themed smartwatches. Those styled after our favourite band’s latest album artwork or a bit of classic Bob Marley rasta love (because everyone knew someone with that phone cover).
5. Custom ringtone sleep monitors
Withings Aura is a brilliant device that sits on your bedside table, monitoring your sleep and gradually bringing you round from the land of nod in soothing fashion every morning. It’s twinkly, tinkling tones and soft smart lighting are missing something though: a bit of customisation.
We say let Nokia bring back its custom ringtone composer to let you create your own digital 8-bit alarm tones. Sure, you might always be one bum note out, but at least you’ll wake in a wave of warming nostalgia every morning.
Be warned though, hit snooze more than three times and that classic Nokia ringtone will pour forth from your sleep monitor’s speakers before a bellowing Dom Jolly welcomes you to a new day with a booming “HELLO!! I’M WAKING YOU UP, NO, I’M WAKING YOU UP, NOW!!”
Got any more ideas? Let us know about them in the comments.