Halo’s sleep tracking abilities are similar to competing trackers like Fitbit. It measures the amount of time you were asleep, heart rate, motion, and skin temperature. It also doubles as a fitness tracker; it tracks your movement and awards you points based on the intensity of the exercise. Walking gives you less points than running, for example. If you sit at your desk for too long Halo will deduct points.
Amazon is partnering with other companies and celebrities to offer ‘Labs’. These are “science-backed challenges, experiments, and workouts” that are offered by third parties and included in the subscription program.
The company debuted the new sleep and fitness tracking band in a press release on Thursday. Reviewers praised Halo’s high-tech features but expressed privacy concerns. The microphones that monitor your voice tone raised eyebrows in particular. Many reviewers said that they were worried about having their voice recorded at all times.
Amazon attempted to reassure customers by saying that Halo includes “multiple layers of privacy and security.”
“Health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and customers can download or delete their data at any time directly from the app,” Amazon added.
“Body scan images are automatically deleted from the cloud after processing, so only the customer sees them. Tone is enabled by creating a personal voice profile, after which it begins capturing short samples of speech and providing insights and daily recaps. Speech samples are always analyzed locally on the customer’s phone and automatically deleted after processing—nobody, not even the customer, ever hears them.”
It remains to be seen whether customers will be willing to overlook their privacy concerns and shell out 4$/month for a wellness subscription service. Keep in mind that many said the same thing about the company’s Echo smart speakers, which are now ubiquitous in American households.
Halo is available by invitation only. You can get it at a 33% discount during the early access period. You also get six months of their wellness subscription service for free. It renews at a rate of $3.99/month after the promotional period expires. It competes with brands including Fitbit, Withings, and Oura.