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Nokia is making a bigger push into the healthcare market, announcing at Mobile World Congress that the health and fitness accessory maker Withings will rebrand its products under the Nokia name, as well as revealing a "Patient Care Platform" that appears to directly compete against Apple's HealthKit.
The rebrand of Withings, which Nokia acquired for $192 million in April last year, will see all of the company's existing and upcoming products renamed as Nokia devices. The change will be taking place early this summer, with the Nokia-branded devices expected to go on sale in major retailers in the United States and Europe at that time.
Withings is known for its connected devices covering a number of areas in relation to healthcare and fitness. Notable items include the Steel HR smartwatch that provides fitness tracking capabilities on a traditional timepiece, the Body Cardio Scale, a blood pressure monitor, and a smart thermometer, with the rebranded products keeping their existing appearance but adding the Nokia logo.
At the same time as the rebrand, the company's Health Mate app will be receiving a redesign. Used to compile together data from connected devices to offer an all-round view of a person's health, the app's refresh will apparently make it easier to add devices, and share progress with family members.
New in-depth coaching programs will be included within the app, which will take users on an "eight-week journey" to reach a health goal, with personalized experiences said to be provided to users to "better manage health and wellbeing."
The "Patient Care Platform" is described as a way to "transform the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals." The platform will allow doctors and care teams to remotely monitor devices worn by their patients, so timely and targeted care can be provided in order to minimize office visits and hospitalizations.
The HealthKit competitor is already in use in the United Kingdom, with the National Health Service using it to conduct a 69,000-person study into hypertension, and the ways to remotely monitor and lower hypertension rates.
The rebranding and the healthcare announcements arrive as Nokia launches new consumer devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with licensee HMD Global. Three Android smartphones were unveiled at the show, with a global version of the Nokia 6 alongside the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5, as well as the revival of the Nokia 3310 feature phone.
Withings has also branched out into home automation, showing off the HomeKit-compatible Home Plus smart security camera at CES in January before a release this quarter, and it appears it will also go under the same rebranding treatment. While there has yet to be a confirmation for the camera's launch, a recent support query on Twitter advises of a delay for the Home Plus launch, but confirms Withings is still "working on it."
Once released, it is unclear if the Home Plus camera will be available to purchase from Apple stores, like other devices supporting HomeKit. Apple pulled all Withings products from its online and physical stores in December, in response to patent dispute between the iPhone producer and Nokia.
Nokia filed suits against Apple in the U.S. and Germany, accusing Apple of violating 32 patents Nokia acquired in recent years. Apple responded by suing nine patent holdings firms and Nokia, claiming the group were working together to "extract and extort exorbitant revenues" from Apple and other device producers.
Nokia fired back by launching another set of lawsuits, claiming infringement of 40 patents across 11 countries.