Creating the Withings Pulse: the nugget versus the bangle

June 12, 2014

In 2012, when the Withings Pulse was just a few sketches on a piece of paper, we decided to go with the nugget/domino form-factor, as opposed to the bangle/wristband format. First, we will go through the different reasons that pushed us to choose the “nugget” option last year. Secondly, we will see how the Pulse Ox got more versatile, making it the “wear it your way” activity tracker.



activity tracker 2 HD (Miles) S

Why did we choose to create a “nugget” form-factor activity tracker in the first place?

• Accuracy. It is easier for an activity tracker to count steps when it is dropped in your pocket or worn by your waistline (the signal is not as strong when it is worn on the wrist). I’m sure you can imagine many cases where an armband tracker will count simple arm movements as steps: a barman preparing cocktails, a hairdresser… Had the tracker been in their pocket, it would not have counted steps. QED.

• Long-term usage. We want people to keep on tracking. Now it came to our knowledge that many people using wristband activity trackers stopped using them after some time. They either got bored of wearing the same bracelet day after day, or they wished it could be adapted to different situations and styles. Now this doesn’t happen with a “drop it, clip it” tracker.

• Seamlessness. At Withings we like “passive data collection”. Sure it doesn’t sound overly sexy – still, we believe offering tracking solutions that integrate your lifestyle quietly is one of the keys to help you successfully adopt healthy habits. In this respect the nugget has an advantage (especially if the tracker only weighs 8 grams!).
Of course, at the time we already knew that the “nugget” form-factor had its downsides too, such as their annoying tendency to end up in the washing machine. But we went with the nugget anyway, clearly showing our preference for accuracy and efficiency. In a few words we chose function over fashion.




arti bangle nuggetThe original Withings Pulse

Then the original Withings Pulse came out in June of 2013. It came with a black silicone belt clip and a thin neoprene sleep wristband. The first reactions were great – “Beautiful design”, “It has a screen and it’s a touch screen!”, “Wow! You can take your pulse with it!”. True. We had anticipated the importance to developing a real screen, and the ability to measure your heart rate was indeed a first-ever in an activity tracker of this size. But soon enough the first suggestions to create a wristband appeared on our social media accounts (by the way, thank you all for your feedback):



“We recently added the Pulse to our Withings collection and I started thinking…why is the Pulse just limited to either the rubber clip, the sleep wristband or just naked in a pocket? Why not create a nice feminine bracelet that would “snap” the pulse in so us women can wear it as a pretty piece of jewelry? Why not create a manly looking leather band for guys to wear it as a watch, after all it does have the time!! I mean seriously, it’s a great device, help make it possible for us to wear them proudly in the open!!”

Posted by Jennifer (Madison, WI, USA) on our Facebook page.



wear it your wayTurning the Withings Pulse into a smartwatch

The decision to create a wristband for the Pulse was taken and we went back to the drawing board. And it was not just to design a silicone bangle in which you could slide the tracker. We had a lot on their plate: our engineers had to develop a versatile algorithm capable of accurately recording steps independently of where the Pulse was worn, our designers had to imagine a new “watch screen” that could be read vertically.

A few months later, we are pretty happy with the result. The Pulse Ox‘s wristband comes in 2 colors – blue and black – and is made of 3 parts:
• A brushed aluminium case to slide the Pulse Ox into.
• A set of 2 watch straps fastened by standard 18 mm spring bars (this means you can swap the provided straps for the watchbands of your choice!)
Now that the Withings Pulse Ox is out, with a wristband and an updated firmware, we are astonished by the warm welcome it is receiving (we are even momentarily out of stock!). Turning the Pulse into a versatile “wear it your way” activity tracker was definately the way to go! Thank you to all the Withingers who suggested the move.
Have fun watching “The game changer of wearable tech?”, our self-mockery teaser announcing the release of a wristband version of our activity tracker.

withings pulse O2 wristbands A “wear it your way” activity tracker

No need to choose between the nugget and the bangle! Get a Pulse Ox now and figure out how you want to wear your tracker later. It comes with a belt clip so you will have 3 ways to wear it :

• On the wrist as a smartwatch (the modern and technological version of the classic fashion bangles),

• Clipped to your clothes (like a nugget with a clip!)

• In your pocket or bag as a golden nugget that happens to track steps.




Capture d’écran 2014-05-26 à 14.29.20

Personalize your wristband

Not only does the Pulse Ox‘s wristband let you wear it on the wrist – as its watch bands are attached with standard spring bars, you can easily transform your wristband to match your outfit, your mood, your personality: it adapts to you. One tracker, one thousand ways to wear it.




Withings Pulse wristbandWant more?

Visit to experience the Withings Pulse Ox.