Withings CEO: Nokia's name is 'a very powerful weapon'

The Withings name is no more. From this summer, the now Nokia-owned brand has confirmed it will be inheriting the name of its partner company as it looks to tackle not just the wearable fitness market, but digital health as a whole. 

TechRadar sat down with Cédric Hutchings, Withings CEO and VP of Digital Health at Nokia, at MWC 2017 to find out why it changed name and what we can expect from Nokia’s new digital health arm

Unsurprisingly, Hutchings confirmed that before Nokia even purchased Withings it had already researched whether its name - obviously synonymous with mobile phones - could cut in in the health market.

“There had already been studies to check the relevancy of Nokia becoming a brand that conveys digital health products”, Hutchings told us. 

“The findings showed a good relevancy for Nokia to have a say in this field, and in June we launched some studies in the field to see how people reacted [to Nokia-branded digital health products], and we have been very encouraged with what we’ve seen.”

The bottom line is clear: the Nokia brand far exceeds the reach of the Withings name.

“Nokia is very famous, and very relevant, and there is no comparison in terms of awareness of Nokia to Withings. It was a very natural move,” Hutchings explained. 

“Not only is the Nokia brand relevant [in the health and fitness market], but it actually generates much more traction [than Withings].”

Taking the fight to Fitbit

When asked how Withings/Nokia will tackle established players such as Fitbit, Hutchings was positive about the company’s chances.

“What’s very interesting is that Nokia is a household name, so we now have a very powerful weapon. 

“Where we were perhaps lacking [in our products] in the past year was in missing some highly demanded features such as heart rate monitoring and smart notifications, but the Steel HR is now bringing these features to a wearable.”

All current Withings products will have their name switched to Nokia, and if you currently own one you'll also see an update for the Health Mate app in the coming months that provides more features and a Nokia-styled UI.

If the hype generated by the new Nokia 3310 is anything to go by, there's still a lot of love for the Nokia - however, the Withings-created products will need to be pretty remarkable to cut it in a world where people are still unsure which wearables will actually have a useful and positive effect on their daily lives.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.