Amazon has already expanded its reach to most of the consumer tech segments via its in-house brands, Alexa voice assistant, and other services. But today, the e-commerce giant has stepped foot into the wearables and fitness tracker segment with the launch of the Amazon Halo Band. It has also debuted a complementary health and wellbeing tracking subscription, Halo, along with its wearable.
Here’s everything you need to know about both the Amazon Halo Band wearable and the Halo service, which comes in the form of a mobile app and offers users additional features such as body fat measurement and tone analysis.
Amazon Halo Band
Unlike other wearables, Amazon has unveiled a barebones fitness tracker – Amazon Halo Band. I say barebones because the Halo Band does not have a screen and only a tiny sensor capsule. It “includes an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light,” as per the blog post. There’s also a button on the side to turn the microphone on and off, which is used for tone analysis (explained below).
“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,” Dr. Maulik Majmudar, Principal Medical Officer, Amazon Halo in an official blog post.
Amazon Halo Band will not irritate you at night due to the lack of a screen and is also water-resistant. It also supports 7-day battery life and charges in around 90 minutes. The sensor pill will be available in three colorways – Black, Blush, and Silver – while you can choose from among 15 different band styles.
Halo Mobile App
The Halo mobile app is not only a companion app that will show you the number of steps you have taken, your heart rate or sleep states (including REM, light, and deep sleep). It will show all of these and help you to lead a better and healthy lifestyle. In addition, the Amazon Halo app also offers two unique features – tone analysis and body fat measurement.
The microphones aboard the Halo Band will come in handy for the ‘Tone’ feature that lets you better understand how you might sound to others. It can monitor your voice and apply machine learning to determine your emotional state at that moment. You will be able to see your day’s tone analysis statistics in the Halo app, telling you whether you sounded bored or cheerful in a work meeting.
At the end of the day, Amazon wants to use this feature to help users improve their communication skills and build relationships.
Body Fat Measurement
Amazon will also enable users to measure their body fat percentage using their smartphone’s camera and the Halo app. You will need to wear tight, minimal clothing and keep 4-6 feet of space between you and your phone to click images. The app will see you click four photos – front, back, and each side – to create a personalized 3D body model.
The app uses computer vision (CV) and machine learning (ML) to determine your body fat percentage. “Body fat percentage (BFP) is a better overall indicator of health and longevity than weight or BMI alone,” said the official blog post. Amazon recommends taking scans every two weeks to observe the progress of your body fat. The body scans will be deleted from the cloud right after it has been analyzed and your BFP numbers have been updated in the app.
The Amazon Halo subscription is not available to all at this moment. Customers in the US can request early access to the Halo Band and 6-month Halo app membership for a discounted price of $64.99 starting today.
The official price of the Halo membership has been set at $99.99, as per the Halo Band listing on Amazon’s website. You will have to pay the full charge once the early access period comes to a close. So, would you be interested in picking up a complete health and wellbeing membership from Amazon or stick to your Fitbit or Mi Band? Do let us know in the comments below.