Withings, the French company behind a variety of connected home health products, has launched the second generation of its Pulse activity tracker, dubbed the Pulse O2. The company, which is perhaps best known for its connected scale, has crammed a lot of features into the $120 device, including a blood oxygen monitor and an optional watchband. The app got an update as well.
Withings’ original Pulse stood out among the myriad other personal trackers out there because it included a heart rate monitor as well as sleep monitoring, calorie tracking, step counting and elevation measurements. It did this in the same price range as a Fitbit (see disclosure), the basic Jawbone and the possibly defunct Nike Fuelband, which made it a compelling option for folks interested in taking their fitness tracking to a higher level. Now, with a blood oxygen sensor on the back, the Pulse O2 is clearly trying to keep ahead of the competition with finer-grained tracking metrics.
As with any tracker, there are questions about how accurate the Withings Pulse is when it comes to measuring your heart rate or even steps, but that’s a function of most trackers unless they come with FDA approval. I expect your mileage may vary depending on your activities and how sweaty your hands are when you try to get your pulse.
The Withings comes with an improved HealthMate App that seems to focus on giving users suggestions and insights based on their data, rather than just the data. This is probably a smart way to encourage mainstream users to adopt the product, and goes beyond the “step fatigue” that tends to set in once you realize that you take X number of steps each day and that owning one of these things is kind of dull. It also added a wristband. The original Pulse was a clip-on device — a discreet form factor I like — but users apparently like wearing trackers on their wrist, so Withings has delivered.
The company also shot a hilariously dry video about the product’s development and availability as a wristband below. As a side note to interested buyers, the Pulse O2 so far only works on Android and iOS devices, is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible and has a battery that Withings says will last two weeks.
Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media.