Amazon is debuting a fitness band called Amazon Halo. Launching in the US first during an early access window, the service will cost $4 a month on an ongoing basis. Not only that, but there will be an app to go along with it, too, that has numerous features including the ability to guesstimate your body fat using your phone’s camera.
What’s more, the device – which has an accelerometer, temperature sensor and heart-rate monitor – also has microphones so it can detect how you’re speaking and work out your mood. The app will then give you tips to improve your wellbeing. Sounds a little creepy, although we guess the next step is that Alexa will be on board.
The band is available for a special price of $64.99 including 6 months of Halo membership (regular price: $99.99). The membership automatically renews for $3.99 per month after the initial 6 months.
Halo can also track your activity of course as well as your sleep and temperature. If you don’t renew your Halo membership you will still have access to the basics, including steps, sleep time, and heart rate
Among the features the band has is Tone. If you choose, the band picks up your voice and analyses it for positivity. It’ll then help you understand how they may be perceived by others and how that may impact their well-being. You might find that after a poor night’s sleep, your tone is less acquiescent than if you have a good night.
.After we published this story Amazon got in touch with Pocket-lint to clarify how Tone works. It’s an optional feature, which you enable by choosing to set up a voice profile. If you do create a voice profile, you can turn the microphones off any time by pressing the button on the band for three seconds.
It’s these slightly out-there features that Amazon Halo seems to be pinning its hopes of success upon. The etailer does seem to be doing a lot of ‘see what sticks’ hardware initiatives over the last couple of years – remember the Echo Loop smart ring and Echo Frames smart glasses from last year?
Apple and Google continue to increase focus on health features and using data smartly to help users but, of course, as with anything any of the big tech giants does there is concern over the amount of data they hold on us. Google has had to make promises about protecting user data as part of its acquisition of Fitbit, now being probed by the EU.
With Amazon, there could be the potential for health devices to pitch us healthier foods in your shopping basket, recommend healthy eating or fitness books or programmes – there’s certainly huge potential there.
However, Amazon got in touch with us after we published this story to make it clear that “privacy is foundational to how we designed Amazon Halo.”
Additionally, Amazon says that: “Health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and customers can download or delete their data at any time directly from the app. Body scan images are automatically deleted from the cloud after processing, so only the customer sees them. Tone is enabled by creating a personal voice profile, after which it begins capturing short samples of speech and providing insights and daily recaps. Speech samples are always analyzed locally on the customer’s phone and automatically deleted after processing- nobody, not even the customer, ever hears them.”
You can choose from three colour combinations for their Amazon Halo Band: a Black fabric band with an Onyx sensor capsule, a Blush fabric band with a Rose Gold sensor capsule, or a Winter fabric band with a Silver sensor capsule.
There are also various extra fabric and sport bands you can buy for the device.
Updated 28 August: Added further information supplied by Amazon about Tone’s functionality. Also added additional information about Amazon Halo privacy.