Back in 2019 we revealed that Amazon was working on an emotion-sensing wearable device, and it’s now official.
Amazon's new fitness tracking band has an optional feature that will listen to your voice and gauge your emotions, and coach your communications with others.
It's clear that Amazon has wanted to jump into the vibrant wearable space with something different, and the company that brought you Alexa has no qualms about getting seriously personal.
It costs $99.99 ($64.99 if you get the early bird), both of which include 6 months subscription to get the advanced features. After that it's a $3.99 monthly subscription to keep the bulk of features working. If you let that lapse, you’ll just get basic, old school fitness tracking.
Read on for everything the Amazon Halo can do.
Amazon Halo features
Aside from the eye-catching Tone feature (more on that shortly) the Amazon Halo is a fairly retro fitness tracker.
It has a soft, sleek design that shows it's not there for hardcore sports fans. It's far from a Garmin watch rival.
It seems Amazon is rolling us back to the days of the Nike Fuelband and Jawbone UP3, but adding a very 2020 take.
In terms of the design, there’s no screen. That means the generally accepted view of wearable devices in the Apple Watch era doesn’t apply. No notifications, no on-watch step goals and no spot ECG readings.
It does have a heart rate monitor, and uses this to keep tabs on health, in addition to the tracking of steps, sleep and activity.
There’s also a temperature sensor, just like the new Fitbit Sense, but it’s not clear how this data is presented.
Activity data is distilled into a single score, just like we’ve seen with PAI and Google Heart Points, based on the intensity of your heart. A brisk walk would get you more points than sitting watching Netflix, but not as many as a gentle jog – for example. And sedentary hours will see points taken away.
There’s also a sleep score based on deep, REM and sleep cycles, as most devices have now.
The Amazon Halo can listen to your tone of voice, and coach you on your tone of voice.
As Amazon explains “uses machine learning to analyze energy and positivity in a customer’s voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships.”
Yep, the Amazon Halo listens to you and tells you if you’re not being positive enough. In 2020. The least positive year in living memory.
“Tone results may reveal that a difficult work call led to less positivity in family discussions, an indication of the impact of stress on social well-being,” explains Amazon.
We should mention that Amazon says all data processing is done locally and not stored, and it’s strictly an opt-in arrangement and the mics stay off unless you enable the feature.
And then there's the Body feature.
You can also use the smartphone app to scan your body for a BMI-style rating, which estimates body fat, and according to Amazon it's a more accurate analysis than scales.
Focus on Labs
Amazon is letting brands get in on the Halo experience, creating experiences for the platform called Labs. It’s like a mix between apps and Fitbit style Challenges.
Labs are 1-4 week experiences that Halo users engage with.
We’ve already seen that there will be Labs from brands like Relax Melodies (a top wellness app), WW (Weight Watchers) and brands like Aaptiv, Lifesum and Headspace. These will be interacted with via the app, so it looks like content will be a big part of the experience.
We’re going to try and get hold of the Amazon Halo and try out the experience.
How we test