Jumping into the wearable marketplace, Amazon just debuted Halo a health and fitness tracker with some features that could set it apart from market leaders, like Apple and Fitbit.
Unlike Apple Watch, Halo doesn’t include a video screen, receive phone calls, or perform other functions more commonly associated with smartwatches.
Rather, Halo serves solely as a means of monitoring one’s physical movements, sleep schedule, body fat percentage, and voice patterns in order to help consumers gain a clearer picture of their health.
Halo real strength comes from Amazon’s expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, according to Dr. Maulik Majmudar, Principal Medical Officer at Amazon Halo.
“Health is much more than just the number of steps you take in a day or how many hours you sleep,” stated. “Amazon Halo combines the latest medical science, highly accurate data via the Halo Band sensors, and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to offer a more comprehensive approach to improving your health and wellness.”
Beginning this week, U.S. consumers can request early access to Amazon Halo with the Amazon Halo Band and six months of Halo membership available for $64.99.
After an initial promotion period, the cost of the Halo band a membership will increase to $99.99, which the membership will automatically renew for $3.99 per month after the initial six months.
Sensors in Halo include an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn its microphones on and off.
Informed by American Heart Association physical activity guidelines, Halo awards points based on the intensity and duration of a user’s movement.
Amazon Halo uses motion, heart rate and temperature to measure time asleep and time awake, time spent in the various phases of sleep including deep, light, and REM, and skin temperature while sleeping.
Additionally, a “Tone” feature uses machine learning to analyze energy and positivity in a user’s voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, which is designed to help improve their communication and relationships.
Anticipating push-back from privacy advocates, Amazon says Halo is comprised of multiple layers of privacy and security.
For example, health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud. Customers can download or delete their data at any time directly from the app.