CNBC’s Chrissy Farr tried out Amazon’s new wearable device, designed to compete with the Apple Watch and FitBit. She shares how her product usage went. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to investor and analyst insights on Amazon and more: https://cnb.cx/3dIH56N
Amazon is entering the wearables market in a big way.
The company on Thursday introduced a wristband for health and fitness tracking called Halo, alongside a subscription service and smartphone app.
The space is currently dominated by the Apple Watch and devices from Fitbit, which is awaiting regulatory approval for an acquisition by Alphabet’s Google. Amazon’s Halo product builds on these older fitness tracking devices with features that have never been seen in a mainstream wearable device, including one that tracks a user’s emotional state by listening to the tone of their voice, and another that provides a three-dimensional rendering of their body with an estimated body fat percentage.
It’s a departure for Amazon’s hardware business, which has previously focused on in-home devices, such as the Echo smart speakers and the Fire TV streaming video devices. Amazon showed off some wearable devices at its annual hardware event last fall, including wireless headphones and a set of glasses with built-in access to the Alexa voice assistant. But Halo is its first real shot at capturing a piece the fast-growing wearables market, which Gartner last year estimated would top $50 billion in 2020.
The company has spent several years preparing. Amazon’s Melissa Cha, a vice president at Halo, said the company already had expertise around machine learning and computer vision, but expanding into health required a whole new set of hires.
“We did a global search to find the best experts,” she said. “We found cardiologists, fitness experts, and people who had spent their careers researching sleep and wellness.”
Amazon has stressed its commitment to privacy with this new device and pledged that it won’t use the insights to sell health-related products to its users. But it is a way for the company to learn more about its users’ health habits and gather feedback along the way.
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