Amazon's hardware portfolio is about to get bigger.
The retail and cloud giant is hosting a Sept. 25 product unveiling in Seattle where it's expected to roll out a slew of new devices. At the same event last year, Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report announced a number of new Echo variants and Alexa-enabled appliances. This year, Amazon is reportedly rolling out a wearable device geared at health tracking. Amazon shares were down 2% on Tuesday to $1,748.86.
The expected wearable is a set of Alexa-enabled earbuds that are outfitted with a built-in accelerometers, CNBC reported. The earbuds will be able to track distance, steps and calories burned, and are expected to be priced below $100. Although Amazon has made various inroads into health care -- for example, it said months ago that Alexa is HIPPA-compliant and also announced a handful of health-related Alexa skills -- the new earbuds would be Amazon's first ever wearable health-tech device.
"Amazon entering into the wearable health tech space is a move that just makes sense: Alexa already has insight into the lifestyles we lead at home, and a wearable device could clue the company in to how those choices ultimately impact our overall health and wellness," said Michael Abrams of healthcare consulting firm Numerof & Associates.
Health tech is viewed by industry analysts as a sizable opportunity that could extend well beyond basic functions like tracking steps or calories. Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , for instance, added menstrual cycle tracking and FDA-cleared heart monitoring features to recent iterations of the Apple Watch. And given its existing customer base, Amazon may be well-positioned to deliver a health device of its own.
"Amazon's 100 million-plus Prime subscribers give it a running head start on new product introductions," Abrams added.
Outside of the rumored wearable, Amazon is expected to deliver a number of new products that build upon its existing Alexa and Echo ecosystem.
In July, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was working on a new high-end Echo with better quality audio. Amazon sells a range of Echo devices of varying sizes, price points and capabilities, but none produce premium-caliber sound likely to be favored by fans of Sonos or other high-end speaker systems. Amazon appears to be targeting choosy music listeners, having recently announced a new high-definition streaming service called Amazon Music HD, which sells for $12.99 per month for Prime subscribers.
Amazon's hardware event is likely to bring some surprises -- Amazon watchers speculate that new products could include anything from a battery-powered Echo to an Alexa-enabled coffee maker, as well as a slew of various home accessories, such as smart lights, that complement the growing Alexa ecosystem.
In December, Amazon announced that it had sold "tens of millions" of Echo devices in 2018, and it's the undisputed leader in the smart speaker market so far. The research firm Canalys estimates that Amazon has roughly 70% share of the smart speaker market in the U.S.
Year to date, Amazon stock is up 16%.