Withings today announced that its new factory in France will allow users to choose from 5,800 combinations to personalize the Move smartwatch.
Choices include various watch faces, case colors, straps, and an activity-tracking dial. Withings announced the Move at CES in January, though customizations are not yet available for the higher-end Move ECG.
The announcement is the latest in a flurry of new initiatives since Withings cofounder Éric Carreel bought the company back from Nokia last summer. Nokia had acquired Withings two years earlier, hoping to use it as the launchpad for a connected digital health business.
Instead, the deal turned into a disaster, and Nokia sold the company back to Carreel for an undisclosed sum.
Despite the competition in wearables, particularly with the success of the Apple Watch, Carreel said he remained confident Withings could find its way back into the marketplace. The new factory is one way the company is seeking to differentiate itself.
Withings is branding the product as “Made in France” because it will be made in the Issy-les-Moulineaux factory — ironically, a former tobacco manufacturing plant. The company hopes to open a similar factory in the U.S. later this year.
For now, the customizable Move is only for sale in Europe for €79.95 ($90) or €10 ($11) more than the non-customized version. Carreel has said that having a factory just a short distance from Withings’ Paris headquarters would allow designers and engineers to work more closely on developing products.
“By setting up our factory in France, we offer ourselves an incredible flexibility and place our expertise closest to the end users,” Carreel said in a statement. “Our promise is to deliver in 2 to 3 working days an entirely customized model; there was simply no other way to fill this promise.”
Carreel says the customization will make it more attractive for users to wear the devices every day, something that is essential to truly leveraging their health-tracking potential.
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