Not exactly an adherent of the “strike while the iron is hot” philosophy, Nokia continues to take its sweet time before unveiling concrete smartphone-designing comeback plans.
In the meantime however, the Finnish multinational communications and information technology company didn’t hesitate to spend some of that Microsoft-obtained money on Alcatel-Lucent and Withings.
The latter acquisition is expected to close in “early Q3”, subject to “regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions”, and will see the past makers of Asha and Lumia handhelds cough up EUR 170 million ($191.5M) in cash.
Not a bad paycheck for Withings founders Eric Careel and Cedric Hutchings, which established their small consumer electronics firm in June 2008 near Paris, growing it to approximately 200 employees these days in the capital of France, as well as Cambridge, US, and Hong Kong.
If the name rings a bell, but you can’t quite put your finger on where you last heard it, you may want to rewind back to this year’s CES, when the fairly encouraging Withings Go fitness tracker debuted. Not it? Then you must at least be familiar with the Activité line of super-stylish, Swiss-made activity tracker/watch hybrids.
The Activité, Activité Pop and Activité Steel have never been marketed as full-on smartwatches, only fulfilling basic health-monitoring duties and not requiring constant recharges. That’s probably where Nokia comes in, although its president and CEO, Rajeev Suri, keeps his goals rather vague, saying the company will look to “strengthen its position in the Internet of Things.”
Ramzi Haidamus, the head of the Nokia Technologies division that hatched the N1 tablet, added “Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well designed and already helping people live healthier lives.” Bottom line, expect Nokia-branded, Withings-manufactured stuff like activity trackers, smart body analyzers or blood pressure monitors to come from the takeover.