Withings wakes up: 11th hour reprieve for Activité Pop

Withings Activité Pop (photo: PR)

Shortly after we’d printed the return shipment label for the Withings Activité Pop, the smartwatch that has so far proven itself woefully inadequate in sleep tracking, Withings wakes up to address the issue.

We’ve been granted early access to a new beta version of the firmware that’s supposed to solve the “neither asleep nor awake” bug that’s responsible for hour-plus long gaps in sleep data: For us at least, one of the most important features of any self-respecting smart wristband or smartwatch.

Tomorrow we’ll take delivery of a Fitbit Charge HR, the already-ordered replacement for the ill-fated Withings. The Activité was about to start making its way back to the company’s HQ in the Parisian tech quarter of Issy-les-Moulineaux, when Withings’ support staff finally woke up.

This time around, Withings is making a smarter move by drawing on the support of existing Activité and Pop customers to conduct real-life field testing before it launches the next firmware update to the mass market.

It seems that our multiple tweets of complaint finally got through. Tweets like this one …

And this one…

We’ve been invited to download “the new upcoming firmware release to your unit”. And we’re happy to play along, since we’re still very impressed by the entire concept of the Activité.

We’ve updated the firmware and followed the instructions on disassociating and re-pairing the watch with a smartphone. Credit where it’s due, the process was fast and extremely straightforward. We’re now on firmware version 670 (the current version on general availability is #570).

So we’ll sleep on it and report back…

/WTW

4 Responses to Withings wakes up: 11th hour reprieve for Activité Pop

  1. Jordan says:

    I’m more than curious to hear about your results! I must say the customer service of Withings is a very bad joke – had a few issues myself and support was very difficult to get. I’m also under the impression that the Activite Pop is rather poor in quality, mine broke already with condensation inside just after four weeks and the Withings FB is full of even more awful experiences. Now I have to admit – I still love the product…its so damn pretty in comparison to all the other ones and despite my bad experiences I’m actually considering to get the Activite Swiss, desperately hoping it’s worth the money.

    • Simon Jones says:

      Jordan, the Activité and Activité Pop are mechanically identical, apart from the watch face. I agree with you, Withings is an innovative company that seems to be let down by its UX (user experience). It seems to be an endemic problem in the wearables space. I really hate to say so again but the company that is the exception here is Apple. Even Samsung has put its smartwatches on hiatus while it re-evaluates its position in the market.

      My son is testing the Activité Pop paired to an Android smartphone – now the software is finally out – but he is not impressed by the sleep tracking either.

  2. Jordan says:

    So the inside of the Activite is also produced in China? I have to say it’s frustrating that there is no real alternative to the Withings watch – at least looks wise in my opinion. But as you already mentioned looks aren’t everything and looking at those comments on Fb Withings will let me hang out to dry, if something goes wrong.
    Sadly the Apple watch doesn’t convince me with those charging rhythms – I won’t even be able to track sleeping cause I’m charging.

  3. Simon Jones says:

    We’ve just heard from Withings – apparently the “bug” that has dogged the Pop’s sleep tracking has been identified. Withings says the issue is “currently being solved” but have yet to offer any timeframe. I guess this means keeping an eye out for firmware updates via the Withings smartphone app. Maybe this will explain the huge gaps in my sleep logs!

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