Amazon is entering the health and fitness tracking arena with a new subscription based app and wearable device platform called Amazon Halo.
The device, which does not have a display, promises to track activity, sleep, body composition, and even your emotional state. It has a temperature sensor, accelerometer and heart-rate sensor on board, all feeding data back to the companion app. There are microphones within the app, but there’s no Alexa integration.
It’s an interesting proposition and perhaps a scary one for those perturbed by the prospect of handing over their health data to another Big Tech firm.
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Especially when it comes to the body composition feature, which requires you to be photographed in your underwear (or other tight fitting clothing) in order to create a 3D model of your body. Amazon says this can show body fat percentage with twice the accuracy of a household scale. The company also points out that body fat is a more accurate representation of your overall make-up than BMI.
The company does promise all photo uploads are deleted from its servers, but just the need to send such intimate images in the first place will be enough to turn off many potential users.
Another potential point of concern is the voice analysis tools which will assess your energy and positivity. The company says it’ll help users understand how they sound when they talk to their partner, colleagues, a waiter and a job interviewer. It’ll analyse your tone and tell highlight points where you sounded ‘friendly’, ‘delighted’ and ‘overwhelmed’ for example.
This feature was rumoured last year in reports about a so-called ‘Fire Watch’ rival to the Apple Watch. Privacy will be an issue here. Whether it’s merited or not, there will be suspicions Amazon track emotions and body composition in order to market products to customers.
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Naturally the display-less band, which seems to borrow its design language from the successful Whoop strap, tracks steps and movement, while it is also swim proof with a 5ATM rating, according to Amazon.
The band is available in the US to early access shoppers right now and costs $64.99. The subscription is $3.99 a month, but is free for the first six months. The band is available in silver, black and rose gold hues. There are a bunch of different styles available too.