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

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Apr 12, 2001
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Amazon has today announced "Halo," a new wearable with health and fitness tracking capabilities, reports The Verge.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

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

Ncaba

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2019
6
53
Spain
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...
 

SuperCachetes

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,013
529
Away from you
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.
 

JosephAW

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
3,389
4,017
My Samsung Galaxy Fit is over a year old. Paid $89. This might be next. I wonder if you have to be signed into amazon or google accounts?
 

dvanwinkle

macrumors member
Feb 9, 2009
65
121
Ohio
I'm actually a big fan of this device and the idea of a non-watch wrist device. I could wear this and wear a traditional watch (which I prefer) and it not look like I'm wearing two watches.

I would not however trust Amazon with any of my health data. Apple has my trust, I'll stick with the Apple Watch until Apple creates something similar to this.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,089
27,665
Why does Amazon think it needs to sell a device like this? I get Echo to push Alexa in the home but what does this do for Amazon?
 
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nattK

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2014
308
688
The Upside Down
What do every fitness tracker have to imitate the Apple Watch? The halo's bands are literally a sport loop and Nike sport band clone, and Fitbit's Versa and Sense bands are sport band clones. How hard is it to come up with an ORIGINAL band design?
 

pioneer9k

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2016
72
97
I dont think its a total alternative to an Apple Watch but its good to have more competition. Im not typically the paranoid type, but when you mention Amazon, and 3d body scans, and always listening to and analyzing my voice through out the entire day, that's a bit of a red flag lol. If I didnt own an Apple Watch id still probably go Fitbit over this or something.

Apple Watch without the screen could be interesting. I don't own one yet, but the biggest selling point for me are the sensors and health app integration. Constant notifications are a negative actually.
You can disable annoying notifications on your Apple Watch pretty easily.
 

needsomecoffee

macrumors regular
May 6, 2008
203
511
Seattle
Apple: Start your photocopiers PLEASE. I do not want an Apple Watch (still loving my Casio Digital). I would love to have the health measuring components of the AW along with the longer battery life. Also, the ability to deliver health monitoring at what will hopefully be a much lower price vs. the AW has real meaning to society. So PLEASE copy this - but better of course.
 
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