Amazon Halo Band and App

Halo is Amazon's new health and wellness platform
Credit: Amazon

  • Amazon Halo is the company’s new health and wellness platform.
  • The Halo Band will cost $99.99, while the subscription will set you back $3.99 each month.
  • It includes a feature called Tone that examines the sound of your voice to measure how positive you are.
  • It can also measure your body fat percentage from a photo.

The already competitive fitness wearable space is about to get even more crowded. On Thursday, Amazon announced it’s launching a subscription platform called Halo.

Paying the platform’s monthly fee, you get access to the Amazon Halo app, available on Android and iOS. This works in tandem with the Halo Band, a barebones activity tracker that doesn’t feature a screen. What it does have are sensors like an accelerometer, temperature meter, and heart-rate monitor. You’ll be able to use the wearable without a subscription, but you won’t get access to Halo’s more advanced features.

Amazon Halo's Tone feature

Credit: Amazon

Amazon Halo: What are the features?

One of the features is Tone, a tool that uses the wearable’s two built-in microphones to monitor the sound of your voice. Each day, the Halo Band will intermittingly record snippets of you talking and then analyze and categorize those segments into different emotional states. Some of the categories include hopeful, elated, bored, apologetic, happy, and worried. It will then provide tips on how to sound warmer and more positive throughout the day.

Your phone does all the analyses, and you can mute the microphones at any time by holding down a button on the Amazon Halo Band. The wearable doesn’t have Alexa built-in, and if you decide not to use the Tone feature, the microphones won’t do anything.

Amazon Halo Body feature

Credit: Amazon

Halo’s other marquee functionality is a tool for measuring your body fat percentage. You’ll use your smartphone’s camera to snap multiple photos of your body, which Amazon’s cloud servers will then compile into a 3D scan that they’ll send back to your phone. The Amazon Halo app will then use a machine-learning algorithm to calculate your body fat percentage.

According to Amazon, body fat percentage says more about a person’s overall health than metrics like weight or body mass index (BMI). Moreover, the company claims Halo’s method for measuring body fat percentage is as reliable as an examination by a doctor and nearly twice as accurate as smart scales that use bioelectrical impedance. A slider allows you to see what your body would look like with less or more fat.

Other features

Besides those features, the Amazon Halo Band is about what you would expect from a fitness wearable in 2020, but Amazon has tried to go about the basics in a unique way. The Halo Band includes activity tracking, but instead of merely counting your steps, it awards you points. You’ll earn more by doing more strenuous activities.

For example, going on a run is worth more than a relaxing walk. Conversely, if you spend too much time sitting around, you’ll start to lose points. It also comes with sleep tracking. Each morning, the app will grade your previous night’s sleep on a scale-out of 100.

Related: The best fitness apps for Android

Amazon is also partnering with companies like Headspace and organizations like the Mayo Clinic to offer challenges and workouts called Labs. The idea behind these is to help users find healthy habits that work for them. The company says it will add new Labs content and providers at a steady clip.

But what about Amazon Halo privacy?

When it comes to privacy, Amazon says all your data is encrypted in transit and on the cloud. The company will let you download and delete your data at any time. The platform will delete both your body scans and speech samples after it finishes analyzing them.

Amazon Halo is currently available to people in the US who sign up to trial the platform. Once it’s widely available, the Halo Band will cost $99.99, while the accompanying monthly subscription will set you back $3.99 after a six month trial period. Those who get into the early access program will be able to get the wearable for $64.99. At launch, Amazon will sell the Halo Band in three different color combinations: Black and Oynx, Blush and Rose Gold, and Winter and Silver. The company also plans to sell additional fabric and silicone bands in a variety of colors.

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