I’m not usually one to publicly take a company to task like this, but, well, this is a rather special circumstance. I’ve been an avid Withings fan, and advocate, for years. I was one of the very first people to get a Withings Activité watch. Since then, I’ve actually invested pretty heavily in Withings gear. I bought my wife a Withings Pop. I bough a Withings Body Analyzer Scale. I bought a Withings Wireless Blood pressure Cuff. I bought both myself and my wife a Withings Steel HR. This stuff adds up!

| Model | Cost | |—-|-reading_time: 4 minutes —| | Activité | $450.00 | | Pop | $129.00 | | Body Analyzer Scale | $129.00 | | Blood Pressure Cuff | $99.00 | | Thermo | $99.00 | | Steel HR | $358.00 | | Total | $1,264.00 |

Then Nokia bought Withings. And then, Nokia ‘updated’ the Withings HealthMate App and all hell broke loose. The writers at Forbes seem to think it’s an improvement, other than the plethora of bugs in the new app. I wholeheartedly disagree. I get that apps change. That UIs change. I’m good with change. However, when it’s change just for the sake of change, and it hasn’t been properly thought out, or, apparently, tested – especially with long-time users – I object. When change makes things demonstrably worse, I get agitated.

I used to be obsessive about checking my status on the app. I checked my status 3 or 4 times a day. My wife and I have had a daily competition going for almost 3 years and would regularly message each other from within the app to encourage each other and/or gloat about how badly we were trouncing one another. With the new app? My wife has used it once in the weeks it’s been out. I check it every 3 or 4 days. The UI is awful. The layout of the data is even worse. The process of checking stats that used to be all on one page in the old app now takes 3 or 4 screens worth of data to find, and that’s if you can remember which screen things are stored on. 

The old app almost always got my exercise activity wrong – it thinks sit ups are swimming every day, even though I never swim, and tell it to never show swimming – but at least, in the old app, it showed up in my timeline, and I could easily edit it with one or two taps. In the new app? It doesn’t always show up in the timeline. When it does, editing it can take up to 10 taps, and is a convoluted, confusing process. 

I hate this app

The new colors are nice. I guess. But the overall app experience has deteriorated so badly that, finally, after putting up with this thing for long enough, today I reverted back to the old version of the Withings App. Or at least I tried to. It turns out that the last-backed-up version of the Withings HealthMate App didn’t have support for my Steel HR built in, so I can’t use it after all. 

In the “Coming Soon” section of the notes for the new version of the app it lists (among other things):

  • Height tracking
  • Full functioning of Aura

Wait, they released an app without first making sure that all of their products were covered by it? Really? And I don’t know about you, but a) my height doesn’t change and b) I don’t measure how tall I am, and haven’t since I was about 12. 

In summary, I’m one thoroughly unhappy customer. I’m over $1,200 into this tracking endeavor, and I absolutely love the Withings/Nokia devices. I used to love the app as well. I guess I’ll have to settle for loving the devices and tolerating the app when I absolutely have to use it.