Amazon enters wearables market with Halo health tracking device and service

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Amazon enters wearables market with Halo fitness tracking service.
Image: Amazon

August 27—Amazon announced it would be entering the $52 billion wearables market with its Halo fitness tracking wristband. Halo records user activity levels, sleep patterns, and “emotional well-being” and beams that data to a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) program for analysis.

The e-commerce company is offering the Halo Band and six-months of health tracking for the introductory price of $64.99. But the newest addition to its lineup is currently only available to U.S. residents by early access request.

Details on Amazon’s Halo

On its own, the Big Tech firm’s fitness tracking wearable features some interesting design specifications. The waterproof device contains an accelerometer, two microphones, a heart rate monitor, a temperature sensor, and an LED indicator, but lacks a screen. Amazon states the Halo Band’s no-panel interface will keep it from distracting users. The retail giant also claims its health tracking device can remain on for seven days after being charged for less than 90 minutes.

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In a press release, Amazon stresses Halo is a more comprehensive fitness solution than similar products. For instance, the service’s sensors observe and log the intensity and duration of a user’s activity, not just how many steps they have taken. The platform utilizes the wearer’s temperature, heart rate, and movement data to gauge the quality of their sleep. Moreover, Amazon boasts Halo offers body mass indexing that is more accurate than “leading at-home smart scales.”

The health tracking service also collects an owner’s voice data to precisely catalog their various emotional states.

The brand’s cloud-based AI helps users achieve their fitness goals by gamifying their biological analytics. When accessing the Halo app, subscribers will see their activity and sleep results represented as point totals. Consumers will be able to improve their scores – visualized as colorful open circles – by getting more exercise and rest.

Once Amazon officially launches its tracking service, Halo will retail for $99.99 and will provide basic health information. However, buyers will need to pay $3.99 a month to access the program’s full suite of personal fitness data.

Will the Amazon Halo Become a Hit?

Amazon went from being a plucky startup in 1994 to a $1.72 trillion conglomerate today because of its expansion strategy. Originally an online bookseller, the firm carefully collected and analyzed data about a variety of unrelated markets before entering and dominating them. As such, the conglomerate’s move into the health wearables market could follow the same path as its prior brand extensions.

Amazon is moving into a competitive sector with Halo and will be competing for market share against two popular rivals. However, the offering is different enough from Fitbit and the Apple Watch to carve out its own niche. The service’s emotional data gathering and “distraction-free” design could appeal to health-conscious adults, parents, and elder care providers.

The e-commerce company’s fitness service could further distinguish itself by the quality of its analytics. If its AI really can deliver best-in-class insights, it could win over a lot of veteran health tracker users. The platform’s major drawback is its audio recording feature, which subscribers can deactivate. Some people may find the prospect of giving Amazon their bio-data distasteful under any circumstance.

Nevertheless, Amazon Halo’s positives outweigh its negatives, so it will probably go down as one of 2020’s hottest new products.

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