- Amazon is closing its Halo health tracking division and laying off employees who worked on the products.
- Over the past three years, Amazon launched three Halo devices, two wearables and one smart clock, and established a monthly subscription service that granted access to additional features.
- However, with Amazon cutting 27,000 jobs this year, the tech giant has decided to pull out of the wearables sector, and its Halo devices will stop working on Aug. 1
Amazon was a late arrival in the competitive wearables market. Launched in 2020, the company’s first device, Halo Band, was a screenless, wrist-worn wearable that tracked basic health and activity metrics such as steps, heart rate and sleep time.
The device had two features that differentiated it from the products sold by Fitbit and other competitors. Using a smartphone camera, Halo Band owners could calculate their body fat percentage. Second, the microphones in the device captured the user’s voice and, by feeding it into software, assessed the tone of voice, using terms such as “opinionated” and “dismissive” to describe how the person was speaking.
Amazon removed the microphones from its next device, a more traditional fitness tracker with a color OLED touchscreen. That device, Halo View, was joined on the market by a no-contact sleep tracker and smart alarm clock, Halo Rise, earlier this year. Unveiling Halo Rise last year, Amazon said “a large ... team” had “spent the last few years building” the device.
Now, Amazon has removed Halo Rise and its sibling devices from its online marketplace. Archived pages from Amazon.com show Halo Rise, Halo Band and Halo View were still on sale in the U.S. last month at prices ranging from $69.99 to $139.99. Amazon will fully refund purchases made in the past 12 months.
The shuttering of the unit is underway, with Amazon notifying staff in the U.S. and Canada last week and working with employee representative bodies in other countries. Laying off the staff and closing the unit eliminates one aspect of Amazon’s expansion into healthcare but other parts of the strategy, such as its telehealth platform, are continuing.