Amazon today announced its entry into the health tracking market with a new service called Halo and a new wearable called Halo Band.
“Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the U.S.,” said Dr. Maulik Majmudar, Amazon Halo’s Principal Medical Officer, said in a prepared statement. “We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalized wellness habits. Health is much more than just the number of steps you take in a day or how many hours you sleep. 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.”
As an Amazon device, the Halo Band is, of course, a bit curious. It looks a bit like a Fitbit fitness tracker, but without a display. It’s also inexpensive and will normally retail for $99.99. But Amazon is offering limited-time access to the Halo Band and 6 months of the Halo service for just $64.99. The subscription is normally $3.99 per month.
The key to Amazon Halo, from what I can tell, is that it works automatically. You use a smartphone app to create a 3D model of your body—an act that will frightening enough to scare off many customers—and then the device’s built-in sensors keep track of your temperature, heart rate, activity, sleep, and even the tone of your voice. It’s waterproof and can be used swimming and, Amazon says, is comfortable to wear. And, yes, there is a serious privacy component.
This is a very interesting development. I literally just ordered a Fitbit Sense smartwatch, but I’m going to try and get on the Amazon Halo early access program and check this out as well.