WHEN WITHINGS sold up its oh-so-French take on the fitness market in a multi-million dollar deal with Nokia, we all assumed that was that.
Then, when Nokia made some rather shonky second-rate versions of Withings products, we definitely thought that was that.
It wasn't that.
Nokia got bored and Withings it's now back in the hands of its original management team, and this year's CES has seen the company flaunting its first products under the old-new management.
What Withings has always been good at is spotting the important bits and leaving out the fluff. As such it's never got hung up on digital displays and pointless apps. Rather its ‘hybrid' watches are either analogue, or share real estate with a subtle digital readout, with the important stuff being recorded in the app.
The big addition with the Withings Move 2019 is that it adds ECG (electrocardiogram) data. What that means in real terms is that rather than simply showing you your heart rate (that's so 2016), the Move can actually analyse your hearts behaviour for flutters, arrhythmias and murmurations.
In other words, it knows you're about to die before you do.
Whilst that's great for morticians, it's also good for sporty types that want to see their results in more detail in order to up their game and drug users that want to see if they're safe to get back to planning Brexit.
There's some debate about whether it's a valid way of preventing heart attacks or anything clever like that, but nevertheless, as Apple Watch users will doubtless tell you given half the chance, it's quite cool.
The Withings Move returns to the classic look of two analogue dials, one for step count and one for, well, you know, time stuff.
The extra technology has come at a cost to the design, which is thicker than earlier models and has an inexplicably bulbous glass front, though that could just be an aesthetic choice that we don't quite get.
The electrodes on the back of the watch are completely unnoticeable when wearing it, which is a relief as we were scared it was going to end up being some bizarre bed-o-nails-au-wrist.
Withings has always had a bit of French character to it, but the colour choices this time are, shall we say, bold and we found ourselves being reminded of the 1986 POP Swatch range. Ask your nan.
The Health Mate app is one of the few areas where Nokia's influence was a positive one. The post-Nokia-rebuild app is bright, airy, engaging and for the most part, intuitive. It's also mission control for all of Withings' Products, old and new. Or if you prefer, it can sync with Google Fit et al.
It's certainly the most accessible ECG monitor we've seen for Android users and for iOS users, at from £130 it's a lot more affordable than Apple Watch.
Also premiering was an updated blood pressure sensor. We didn't go hands-on with this one, but it appears to be an upgraded version of the original, which we loved.
However, the addition of a thermometer and stethoscope in the form of a silver, erm, tube with LCD-dot-matrix read out, gives it an odd, slightly Barbarella vibe.
It does look slightly bolted on in a "trying to be helpful" way. Like a small child that thinks its helpful to sticky tape the landline to the kitchen bin.
But a stethoscope? Come on…. no use for it (apart from a very literal game of ‘doctors and nurses with an app'). Definitely want it. μ