Amazon has announced Amazon Halo, a new fitness band that is coupled with a subscription health service. The band, and accompanying optional service will help you track and improve your body fat, sleep, exercise, and even the tone of your voice using built-in microphones. Amazon Halo is available by early access invitation for $64.99 and comes with 6 months of service. That price will increase to $99.99 once it becomes available without an invite and the subscription service, which is required for the device’s more advanced features, will cost $3.99/month after the free 6 months end.
The Amazon Halo device will come in 3 colors that are paired to 3 colored bands. The black “Onyx” device comes with a black band, the silver device comes with a light-blue “Winter” band, and the rose gold device comes with a pink “Blush” band. The included bands are all fabric, but Amazon will be selling numerous accessory bands in various colors made of either fabric ($19.99) or silicon ($15.99). The bands come in sizes small, medium, and large, but they all cost the same and it seems like only the length of the band varies with each size and not the device itself.
Unlike most fitness bands, the Amazon Halo band does not come with a screen. The band that holds it in place wraps completely over the top of the device with just a small side profile of the device itself visible when worn on the arm. On one side is a large button, presumably to interact with the device, and an LED status light. On the bottom, touching your arm, is an optical sensor and the charging contacts that mate to a charging clip. The device also has a pair of microphones, one on either side, for voice tone analysis. Inside are an accelerometer, temperature sensor, Bluetooth connectivity, and battery that should last about a week. There is no speaker, GPS, WiFi, or cellular radio and the microphones are not for speaking to Alexa.
One of the innovative features of the Amazon Halo band is the use of its microphones to track your emotional state via the tone of your voice throughout the day. The microphones can be disabled if you’d like, but if you opt in to the feature, the Halo app trains itself on your voice so that it only reports on your tone. The app will show a summary of your mood for the day, as well as the time you were most positive and most negative. Then it will list a log of “notable moments” that it determines you were in, such as friendly, bored, apologetic, happy, delighted, overwhelmed, worried, confused, hopeful, affectionate, elated, and hesitant, along with what time each mood occured.
You can mute the mics at anytime by ressing and holding the button on the device until the LED light turns red. Tone tracking happens passively throughout the day, so you can’t manually activate the feature, apart from muting and unmuting the mics. The audio recorded is never uploaded. It is analysed by the Halo app on your phone and then immediately deleted.
Amazon Halo’s other trick is measuring body fat percentage, which it does by using your phone’s camera to take 4 photos, one from each side of you. The Halo band actually isn’t invloved in this at all and it’s all done through the app and the photos. Amazon says that these scans are more accurate than smart scales that meassure body fat.
What the Halo band does track itself is your activity and sleep. It can track cardio fitness on a weekly basis, as well as a holistic view of your steps taken. The heart monitor on the deivce is used to measure the intensity of the activity and determines a weekly target score to hit. If you go too long without being active, the app deducts from your score. Similarly, the app tracks your sleep and provides a score. It also shows how much light, REM, and deep sleep you had and when it occured.
Most of the features mentioned require the $3.99/month subscription, but it’s not clear what kind of basic activity and sleep tracking will be provided if you aren’t subscribed to the Amazon Halo service. Amazon says they have partnered with several 3rd parties to continuously create “Labs” in the app that provide 4-week challenges to keep you healthy and motivated.
If you’re interested in Amazon Halo, you can request an invitation to try to get in on the discounted price of $64.99, which saves you 35% off of the regular price that the device will eventually have.