Today, Amazon announced its entry in the fitness gadget market by introducing “Halo”-a fitness band that aims to encourage users to improve their general health and wellness.
Halo doesn’t have a screen and is just a simple band that will use fitness tracking features to keep track of various things like sleep, cardio, heart rate, body fat, and exercise. Thus, this band is in a category of its own, and has been tailored with just general well being in mind. Similar brands are available through few Chinese retailers such as Xiaomi, but none match Halo.
Now, you might ask how the Halo band will display information if it does not have a screen? Well, you will have to pay extra for your phone to become your screen, using the Halo app. Thus, the band will just collect all the data, and then use the app to display it.
The band is water-resistant, has an accelerometer, and a temperature sensor, combined, offering a battery life of up to 7 days.
Amazon is launching Halo as an early access program (for now), which simply means that customers will have to request access before buying it. The Halo band costs $99.99 (Rs. 7,390) and the a month worth of membership of the app will cost $3.99. However, for now, the band and a 6 month membership can be bought for $64.99.
Apart from these features which are found in most of the fitness smartwatches, Halo also has to built-in microphones for the voice tone recognition feature. This feature, as Amazon puts it, is “A new tool to help you understand and improve your social wellbeing”. Halo, using its microphones, will “analyze energy and positivity” in the user’s voice. The band will give the users a daily summary, telling them the how they sounded while talking to different people like their parents, friends, etc. Halo will also help users to reflect on their social behavior and make conscious improvements towards negative emotions. The band will also give you tips to sound better. For instance, it will give you tips on how to sound and remain calmer if it finds that you have been dealing with a lot of stress lately. Quite surprisingly, the device does not support Alexa yet.
Moreover, Amazon also gives full assurance about the security and privacy of this tone feature. It said that the Tone speech samples are never sent to the cloud and that users have full control over their voice data which can be deleted at any time.
“…studies show that strong social connections are just as important to long-term health as adequate sleep, being fit, having a good diet, or even not smoking,” said Amazon in a blog post, adding that “We recognized this and set out to build a tool that leverages our deep expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers understand how they sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships. This tone of voice analysis tool is called “Tone,” for short.”
Next, Amazon Halo gives its users insight into their body fat percentage which according to Amazon is a “better indicator of health than just weight or BMI.” Body fat percentage, despite being a better indicator is used less because it is expensive and more difficult to find. This feature, called “Body” will in essence measure the user’s BFP by using only the halo app. To use the “body” feature users will have to take a full-body picture of themselves, after which the app will create your 3D model and tell you your BFP and give you tips on how to improve.
It has a sleek design and comes in 3 basic colors- onyx (black), mineral (silver/light blue), and rose gold (pink), and of course it has additional accessories available.