Amazon is introducing a new Fitbit-like competitor with its new Halo wearable fitness tracker. On Thursday the company introduced a wristband for health and fitness tracking alongside a subscription service and smartphone app.
Currently, Apple Watch and Fitbit dominate the fitness tracking space. But that isn’t stopping Amazon from getting into the game. The new device is a barebones wrist strap with sensors and no screen at all. All monitoring and settings activity is done on your phone. The band itself contains LED lights and two microphones. But the point here is not the actual device itself but the technology and service it provides.
The service starts at $64.99 for a six-month membership. With the band/service combo it will measure various aspects of health including body fat percentage, sleep, steps, workouts, and more. The company is able to make this possible by using computer vision and machine learning.
The new wrist-worn activity tracker is also using some of the same technology developed for Alexa devices to add a new dimension. There are actually microphones on the board of the Halo Band. It monitors your voice and applies machine learning to determine different factors including energy and positivity. Amazon claims that the technology is able to provide accuracy up to standards of what a doctor would determine in a clinical setting.
One obvious concern here is the privacy of your health info. But Amazon stressed its commitment to privacy with the new device. It pledges it won’t use the insights to sell health-related products to its users. The data it collects is a way for the company to learn about its users’ health habits and gather feedback.
The built-in battery lasts up to a full week with a 90-minute charge. There is also a range of different band accessories for switching styles on your wrist.
Note that currently the new service and device are open for early access by request. If you want to, you can check it out here.