Amazon’s significantly expanding its Halo brand, which previously was limited to the display-free Halo Band, a wearable which tone policed wearers by listening in to their conversations and giving them feedback on how they sounded, and which cost $99. Now the company’s adding a display, dropping the price by $20, ramping up the nutrition features of its accompanying, subscription-based Halo platform, and expanding guided workouts.
The new Halo View has a color, AMOLED display, is priced at $79.99, and comes with a year of Halo membership, after which the service costs $3.99 a month. The original Halo only offered six months of subscription service, so Amazon’s clearly trying harder to get users hooked. It’s also labeling its guided workouts as “Halo Fitness” and deepening the catalog, and adding a new service called Halo Nutrition to tie it all together.
There’s no denying the Halo View looks just like a Fitbit, especially now that the Google-owned company has added color displays to devices like the Luxe and more recent Charge 5. But beyond matching Fitbit’s aesthetics, Amazon’s out to destroy it on pricing. The Fitbit Luxe starts at $149.95, the Charge 5 is $179.99, and Fitbit Premium (its wellness and training app) costs $9.99 a month after the six-month trial provided with a Luxe or Charge 5 runs out. Ouch.
An overview of View — Amazon’s new tracker monitors activity, sleep, and blood oxygen levels, and includes live workout tracking. Like a Fitbit, it can also handle some smartphone notifications, and like the Charge 5, it promises up to seven days on a charge. Amazon will offer the Halo View in black, green, or lavender, and will sell a wide selection of aftermarket bands to go with it, all of which are roughly half the price of Fitbit’s. The Halo View will, in Amazon’s words, “start shipping in time for the holidays.”
The controversial voice-analysis feature found in the original Halo Band, called Tone, lives on in the View. “Tone uses ML to analyze energy and positivity in a customer’s voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, which can help improve their communication and relationships.” Amazon writes, utterly deadpan.
Creepy and intrusive as that remains, there are other more promising features to look forward to if you’re the sort who thinks you need more Amazon in your life. Integration between Halo View metrics and Halo Workouts is coming early in 2022, which is an essential inclusion if you ask us. It’s that ability to get on-screen metrics that makes Apple Fitness+ and Peloton such a pleasure to use. Without it, Halo Workouts doesn’t stand a chance.
Users can also share their Halo stats with Alexa, so they can, for instance, ask their smart speakers or displays how they slept, or how active they’ve been today, and so on.
Put down the donut — The world’s largest retailer and owner of Whole Foods Market would like to remind you that exercise without dietary changes is a fool’s errand. To that end, its new Halo Nutrition service will prompt users to complete a survey that includes questions about their allergies or dietary preferences, and then craft a personalized eating plan accordingly. there are 500+ recipes in the app, and options for seven “pre-curated” menus that include “classic, keto, Mediterranean, Nordic, paleo, vegan, and vegetarian.”
We don’t know what “classic” means, but oh boy are we curious. [Amazon reached out to let us know classic means “an eating style which emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods, in case you’d like to update.”]
Naturally, users can easily add ingredients or grocery items to their Alexa Shopping list straight from Halo Nutrition.
Vertical integration — As much as we’re inclined to deride and decry Amazon’s ongoing efforts to wrap its innumerable tentacles around more parts of our lives, we also have to admire it. Combining tracking, workouts, diet, and shopping is, well, exactly what Apple and Google are trying to do, except neither has a grocery store... at least not yet.
Moreover, Amazon’s become the leviathan it is precisely because it never rests on its laurels and is perpetually mimicking rivals products, trying new ones of its own, and looking for ways to get into other industries. That’s the beast we’ve tacitly encouraged it to become. Now drop and do some squats, please. You wouldn’t want to make Alexa sad, would you? Would you?
UPDATE (09/28 4:38 p.m. ET): Added comment from Amazon re: Halo Nutrition, and removed the previous assertion that Halo View metrics are shared with the nutrition service.