“Amazon Halo combines a suite of AI-powered health features that provide actionable insights into overall wellness via the new Amazon Halo app with the Amazon Halo Band, which uses multiple advanced sensors to provide the highly accurate information necessary to power Halo insights,” the online retail colossus said in a statement.
In addition to tracking physical activity, sleep and body fat, Amazon also claims the Halo will be able to analyze users' tone of voice to determine mood and improve communications with others. There are also partnerships with other companies and health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Orangetheory Fitness, Headspace and WW to improve habits and health.
“Customers in the U.S. can request early access to Amazon Halo starting Thursday, with the Amazon Halo Band and 6 months of Halo membership available for a special price of $64.99," the company said. After the six months, the subscription will cost $3.99 a month although non-subscribers will still be able to access basic features.
The new product will compete with Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report Watch and Fitbit (FIT) - Get Fitbit, Inc. Class A Report devices. Alphabet’s (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google agreed to acquire Fitbit last year, but is still waiting for government approval.
Amazon obviously sees room for another competitor.
“Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the U.S.,” said Dr. Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer of Amazon Halo. “We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalized wellness habits.”
Shares of Fitbit were down 0.4% to $6.43 on Thursday morning, while Amazon recently traded at $3,412.06, down 0.87%.
Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy is bullish on the company.
“Amazon's disruption of the retail industry is well documented, but it continues to find ways to evolve,” he wrote in a commentary last month. “Its operational efficiency, network effect, and a brand intangible asset give its marketplaces sustainable competitive advantages that few, if any, traditional retailers can match.”
Amazon shares have soared 85% year to date.