Withings, French maker of fitness trackers such as the Withings Activite Pop, is being acquired by former mobile phone giant Nokia for the modest sum of $191 million.
Nokia has never hesitated in its claim that the Finnish company would rise to prominence again. Nokia's mobile division was acquired by Microsoft some time ago along with the "Lumia" brand, and Nokia has been out of the handset market for some time now. The company has introduced its own N1 tablet, with the hope that, after the Microsoft acquisition non-competition clause time allowance has passed, that it would be able to return to making smartphones and mobile devices. While Nokia hasn't been able to make a new smartphone just yet, the company can get involved in smartwatches and fitness trackers -- and that seems to be the route by which Nokia will return to the mobile scene again.
The Finnish phone maker expressed its excitement over the acquisition in an open announcement just this week:
With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples' lives,
said Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri.
Nokia is placing its stake in the wrist wearables market at the perfect time. After all, fitness trackers are still all the rage, even in a market where smartwatches are growing (just ask Fitbit). For consumers who've loved Withings fitness trackers, you can now expect that Nokia will do what it can to place its own branding and design stamp on them. And, with Nokia's nostalgic brand name, this may be a good thing. Withing has always had a nice design but needed a brand name like Nokia to put it back on the map. Perhaps this acquisition is the beginning of a beautiful and financially lucrative friendship. Perhaps Nokia will take a chance and, being faithful to its old roots, provide a fitness activity tracker (and perhaps a future smartwatch) that will play kindly with Windows Phone users, despite Fitbit's decision to do otherwise.