Given the considerable success Pebble has had with e Ink wearables, it’s a little surprising we’ve seen so few other companies go that route. That might change this year, as Withings has announced Go, a new fitness tracker with an e Ink display and an eight-month battery life. It’s not a fully-fledged smartwatch, but it should be a pretty affordable way to get a no-fuss, 24-7 fitness tracker.
While Withings Go is coming out as a budget fitness tracker, it has all the functionality of something twice as expensive. In addition to fitness tracking basics like steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned, Go can differentiate between running, walking, and swimming (5 ATM water resistance) and can track sleep cycles. All of that data can be viewed on the e Ink display, which can be shifted back to showing the time with the press of a button. Like the rest of Withings’ wearables, Go works with their Health Mate app, which tracks data recorded and lets you log details about your meals and workouts.
Withings Go will come in black, blue, green, red, and yellow, which refer to the rubberized shells that come with the device. You’ll have the option to put Go in a wristband or in a round shell that can be clipped to belts, backpacks, or keychains. Go is powered by a replaceable button cell battery that should last eight months, thanks to the low power draw of e Ink displays.
Withings’ other activity trackers are pretty nice, but we think Go might be the company’s shrewdest move yet. Now that most of them can track sleeping stats, activity trackers only make sense as 24/7 devices — if you wear one inconsistently, then you’re getting incomplete data about your health. We’ve seen some nice wrist-worn fitness trackers over the past couple years, but now that they have to compete directly with smartwatches and traditional watches — I’m guessing the vast majority of consumers are only going to wear one gadget on their wrist at a time — the wrist might not be the best place for a pure fitness tracker anymore. Having the freedom to wear your tracker somewhere else means you can still wear an elegant luxury watch on a night out while keeping your fitness tracker on you, but out of sight.
Withings Go should be out sometime this quarter and will retail for $70. That’s a bit high for a budget tracker, but including sleep tracking might make it worth the extra $10 or $20.