Computational creativity and the future of AI

This undercover fitness tracker could pass for a standard watch


June 24, 2014

The Withings Activité aims to be both a functional activity tracker and a fashionable acce...

The Withings Activité aims to be both a functional activity tracker and a fashionable accessory

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Many wearable tech devices get the job done, but aren't necessarily very good looking. It's an image that devices like the Netatmo June, the Cuff and the Pebble Steel are trying to change. Well, you can add the new Withings Activité watch to that list, as it squeezes some fitness tracking functionality into what's otherwise a stylish-looking watch.

The relationship between technology and fashion was well summarized by Marie Claire Magazine director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, speaking at the unveiling of the Activité in New York. "This is a really exciting time in fashion, which until recently has not been on speaking terms with technology," said Garcia. "We are now seeing these worlds coming together in highly creative ways."

Withings is a provider of smart health and lifestyle devices, such as Wi-Fi bathroom scales and a smart baby monitor. The Activité is the company's first device with an additional focus on fashion.

The Activité has a stainless steel casing and a  sapphire glass front

The Activité uses an accelerometer to track steps when walking or running. It also tracks swimming and can keep tabs on your sleep length and quality. Though it doesn't support smartphone notifications, it will vibrate your wrist when you meet your fitness goals or even as an alarm to wake you up in the morning.

The device is available in black or silver, and has a stainless steel casing. The front is made from sapphire glass and has touch functionality that allows users to tap between modes. Activité buyers get both leather and plastic straps, which they can swap as they see fit: go with the plastic strap for the morning jog, or strap on the leather band for the business meeting that afternoon.

Unlike most rival fitness trackers, the Activité features a classic round face with a traditional analog display indicating the time. A second set of arms indicates the user's percentage of progress towards specific activity targets, such as steps or sleep. The device is water resistant (to 5 ATM), powered by normal watch batteries that last for a year and has no fiddly buttons.

A plastic strap is also provided with the Activité for use when training

The Activité pairs with the Withings Health Mate app via Bluetooth Low Energy (no word on Android compatibility just yet). Using the app on an iPhone or Android phone, users can set up activity plans, monitor progress, share results and provide notifications.

The Withings Activité will be available towards the end of 2014 retailing at US$390. The video below provides an introduction to the Activité.

Product page: Withings

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds.   All articles by Stu Robarts
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