Amazon has abruptly announced that they’re discontinuing their Halo fitness and sleep trackers. If you’re still using one, you’re good until July 31st, after which you should give your privacy-invading little friend a Viking funeral. Or, you know, send it to Amazon for proper recycling.
We reviewed the Halo last summer, and while the hardware was above and beyond for an $80 device, the ecosystem was lackluster, and the app offered some very creepy and invasive features like a 3D body scan and attempting to monitor the tone of your conversations.
It felt very much like an experiment in what Amazon could learn about users rather than what users could learn about themselves. So it’s not surprising that Amazon decided there wasn’t a market here that they wanted to pursue.
The reality of the entire fitness market really boils down to this: there’s just not enough of a market to divide it further. Hardcore runners and fitness people will flock to Garmin and Polar, and people who want a fitness-forward tracker will opt for something like the Fitbit.
Anyone who wants a smartwatch has a plethora of choices with both Google Wear OS and the Apple Watch, and people who want an in-between experience can check out any number of hybrid smartwatches from Withings, Timex, Citizen, Fossil, and others.
No matter your budget or requirements, there was a better, more established brand out there than what Amazon was offering with the Halo.
Amazon is handling the shutdown reasonably well, though.
They sent a very nice email tonight explaining the shutdown, and anyone who had a subscription will not be charged going forward, even if they have three months to still use the service.
There were also instructions on how to download your data from the app. The only other thing they could have done was offered a one-click solution to exporting the data to either Apple Health or Google Fit, though I can see where they don’t want to specifically direct users to their competition.
The software was invasive, and it always felt like the Halo arrived a few years too late for the fitness tracker peak, but it was decent hardware.
RIP Halo … you’ve requested your last creepy 3D body scan.