What you need to know
- Amazon is making its Halo health tracker available for purchase after an early-access period
- Amazon Halo has been met with some controversy regarding the invasiveness of its service.
- The launch also includes a few new features, including on-demand workouts.
After a few months in a limited "early access" period, the Amazon Halo band and service are now available to the general public. The band does not feature a display that is meant to keep from distracting the user and go largely unnoticed on their wrist. And while the device is meant to fade into the background, the device is much more involved in its tracking than other similar devices.
Beyond the typical step, calorie counter, and sleep tracker, Amazon Halo can also measure the intensity of your activity. For users who subscribe to the $3.99/month membership, it can take things even further by calculating your body composition, and even has a feature called Tone that actively listens to the user to determine their mood through their tone of speech. That last one requires the device to constantly listen to the user, which may sound invasive, but Amazon ensures that recordings are never sent to Amazon's servers and are sent straight to the user's device for analysis. As for body composition, Amazon Halo requires the user to capture a "full-body scan", which may seem even more invasive, but the scans are processed through its cloud servers then immediately deleted. These scans can be adjusted by users to indicate their ideal body composition.
Features such as these have caused some alarm regarding user privacy. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar recently spoke out about Amazon Halo, calling for the federal government to provide more protection for consumer privacy. Amazon guarantees that they've taken privacy concerns into account. "Privacy is foundational to how we designed and built Amazon Halo," said a spokesperson. "Body and Tone are both optional features that are not required to use the product."
Since the initial launch, Amazon has also included two new features, based on user feedback. The first is called Insights, which lets users track trends and patterns with different data sets like sleep, activity, tone, and more. The second, On-Demand Workouts, is pretty self-explanatory and seems like an extension of Halo's Lab feature. It includes workouts from leading brands like Orangetheory Fitness, Openfit, Aaptiv, Exhale, P.volve, and Street Parking.
Amazon Halo may be gunning for a spot among the best fitness trackers, and it's definitely taking an interesting approach. For those of you interested in a distraction-free fitness tracker, the Amazon Halo band can be had for just $99 and includes 6-months of the Halo membership. And for a more personal insight on how the band works, check out our review of the Amazon Halo.
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