Amazon Unveils 'Halo' Health and Fitness Wristband for $99.99 to Compete with Apple Watch

Amazon has today announced "Halo," a new wearable with health and fitness tracking capabilities, reports The Verge.

Halo App and Halo Band

The Amazon Halo wristband consists of a sensor module and a band that attaches to the top of it. The sensor contains an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphone on or off. The Halo offers a week-long battery life and a "swimproof" water resistance up to 5ATM. The device is compatible with both iOS and Android, but it will not be compatible with other health apps such as Apple Health.

Unlike the Apple Watch or Fitbits, the Amazon Halo band does not have a screen. It is instead reliant on an accompanying app, with no ability to check the time, steps, or any other information directly from your wrist. It also has no GPS, Wi-Fi, cellular connectivity, or Amazon Alexa voice-control.

bandback

The Halo's more advanced features are unlocked by an ongoing subscription, separate from Amazon Prime. The subscription will offer a selection of "labs" developed by Amazon partners. The labs are effectively short challenges designed to improve specific health areas and encourage routines.

Halo has two unique functionalities not present on the Apple Watch. The first of these is use of a user's phone camera via the Halo app for full-body 3D scans to determine body fat percentage. The second is the ability to listen for emotion in a user's voice and track mood.

Halo App Body Feature

Body scans take four photos of different sides of a user's body, and then uploads them to Amazon's servers where they are combined into a 3D body scan which can calculate body fat.

The Halo's microphone listens to the tone of a user's voice throughout the day and reports back on their emotional state. It detects the pitch, intensity, rhythm, and tempo of a voice and then categorizes the instances into "notable moments" that users can go back and review. Users can mute the microphone at any time by holding down the side button until a red blinking LED appears.

Screen Shot 2020 08 26 at 8

The wristband is also able to track sleep, steps, and cardiovascular health, similar to the Apple Watch. Unlike Apple Watch, however, it only records cardio fitness on a weekly basis rather than daily. The app then offers an abstracted weekly activity score from all of this information.

The Halo band can automatically detect activities such as walking and running, but every other type of exercise needs to be manually entered into the app. The Halo band also has no ability to detect falls, offer stand prompts, or proactively alert users to heart conditions like atrial fibrillation. Interestingly, Amazon told The Verge that it has not submitted the device to the FDA for any sort of approval, including the less rigorous "FDA clearance" classification common on many other fitness bands.

Halo App Activity Feature

It appears that Amazon has taken a more laid-back approach with more of a general focus on lifestyle tracking, rather than active sport and exercise tracking. Halo's low cost, lack of screen, and emphasis on unique features make it an interesting competitor to the Apple Watch.

The Halo band is set to cost $99.99, with an optional subscription for $3.99 per month for access to advanced features. Amazon will also sell a large variety of band styles in a range of colors. Sport bands will be $15.99 and fabric bands will cost $19.99. The Amazon Halo launches today as an invite-only early access program for an introductory price of $64.99.

Top Rated Comments

Ncaba Avatar
27 months ago
So... a wristband that listens to you all the time, processes those recordings in the Amazon Cloud, and also encourages you to take photos of yourself so many more health related gadgets or services can be sold to you.
All this topped with a bracelet-style design, no screen, so that you forget it is there listening to you.

Jeez...
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JM Avatar
27 months ago
ALEXA: "John. I noticed your voice was a little more enraged today. Let me suggest this soothing bath salt bomb on Prime for $8.99 with an average rating of 5 stars. Would you like to buy?"
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
repoman016 Avatar
27 months ago

*Should have read first... if it can't tell the time, its useless to me.
But it will be able to tell you how angry you are from not knowing what time it is
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Polly Mercocet Avatar
27 months ago
Looks like more of a Fitbit competitor than anything else. If it doesn't even tell the time it cannot possibly be described as an Apple Watch competitor.

It's basically a $99 data mining bracelet.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SuperCachetes Avatar
27 months ago

Body scans take four photos of different sides of a user's body, and then uploads them to Amazon's servers where they are combined into a 3D body scan which can calculate body fat.
Oh hell no. I get that me not wanting Alexa in my bedroom is probably quirky paranoia - but images for the calculation of body fat? Not going in the cloud. No sir.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
27 months ago


This looks like somebody sent a Nike Apple Watch through one of the pods in The Fly.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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