Amazon is deactivating its once-promising wearables business.
Breaking up the Band
The retail giant announced it would stop supporting the Amazon Halo platform, encompassing its wrist-worn health trackers Halo Band and Halo View, as well as its contactless sleep tracker Halo Rise.
Amazon plans to fully refund any purchases or prepaid subscriptions made in the last 12 months, and, with hardware soon to cease functioning, the company provided instructions to permanently delete health data and recycle its devices.
Unfortunately, this also included layoffs of the entire division’s staff.
Failure to launch. In a letter to Halo members, Amazon marked its effort as a swing and a miss:
“At Amazon, we think big, experiment, and invest in new ideas like Amazon Halo in our efforts to delight customers. While we are proud of what we built, we recently made the difficult decision to stop supporting Amazon Halo effective July 31, 2023.”
For its part, though its time was short, the brand’s connected health effort wasn’t without excitement.
- Aug. 2020: Launched its first wearable, Halo Band
- May 2021: Debuted Movement Health, an AI-assisted MSK feature developed with Dr. Kelly Starrett
- Sept. 2021: Unveiled platforms for digital fitness and nutrition, as well as second-gen wearable Halo View
- Sept. 2022: Released Halo Rise, a bedside sleep tracker
Of note, Amazon Halo was also an element of the company’s ill-fated B2B virtual care service, Amazon Care.
However, not unlike Apple’s “sherlocking” accusations, other brands were calling copycat from the first press release.
As WHOOP CEO Will Ahmed alleged—and we reiterated in Issue No. 094—Halo Band looked and functioned a lot like WHOOP’s signature product. In response, WHOOP etched the phrase “Don’t bother copying us, we will win” into every new circuit board of its 4.0 strap.
Undeterred, Amazon’s following releases of the View band and Halo Fitness service were regarded as too close for comfort by Fitbit and Apple, respectively.
But, despite its competitive features, consumers didn’t buy Halo’s branding — instead seeking options with better interoperability, stronger personalization, and a more engaging ecosystem.
Looking ahead: With Amazon exiting the space, other wearables makers are taking a victory lap. But, after acquiring One Medical, the company is still squarely in the healthcare race. Meanwhile, Apple, the real behemoth in health wearables, is still a force to be reckoned with.