With Amazon preparing to discontinue support for its fitness trackers, consumers are scrambling for their next wearable, which could be WHOOP
Amazon will stop supporting its Amazon Halo wearable fitness devices effective July 31 and is laying off employees in its Halo health division, the company announced.
The news comes as part of the tech giant’s latest round of layoffs, expected to affect 9,000 Amazon employees across the company, on top of the 18,000 eliminations at the beginning of the year and last November.
The tech company referred to the disconnection of Halo as a “very difficult decision” after introducing the fitness tracker in 2020.
Amazon says it’s refunding customer purchases made in the preceding 12 months and ensures that it is supporting impacted employees in the U.S. and Canada, who were notified April 26 of the decision to ax Halo.
Employees will receive severance packages that include payment, transitional health insurance and external job placement support.
In addition to the layoffs and the end of Amazon Halo, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has also enacted a corporate hiring freeze and is scrubbing some projects.
“We are incredibly proud of the invention and hard work that went into building Halo on behalf of our customers, and our priorities are taking care of our customers and supporting our employees,” Amazon posted on its blog.
Halo members were also notified via email of Halo’s end-of-life transition, with Amazon writing that it understands the news may be disappointing for users of the fitness tracker and its associated devices.
Amazon stated that unused prepaid Halo subscription fees will be refunded to the original payment method, and paid subscribers will no longer be charged a monthly subscription fee.
“Beginning on August 1, 2023, Amazon Halo devices, and the Amazon Halo app, will no longer function. If you want to download or delete your Halo health data, you can do so from the Settings page in the app. If you want to save your scan images to your phone’s Camera Roll, open the individual scan image, click the button next to the camera icon, and select ‘Save images to phone.’ Remaining Halo health data will be deleted after August 1, 2023,” Amazon wrote in a note to Halo members.
The tech company encourages users to recycle Amazon Halo devices and accessories through its Amazon Recycling Program. Amazon says it will cover the costs associated with shipping and recycling — a good move, considering it’s Earth Month and e-waste continues to create a significant environmental issue in our tech-driven society.
Planet Fitness, which partnered with Amazon to offer members a free fitness tracker as part of an upgrade promotion, may be disappointed by the demise of Amazon Halo. During an earnings call with investors in February, Planet Fitness executives indicated that the partnership had successfully upgraded many gym memberships in exchange for the Halo health tracker.
While wearables are a hot fitness trend, the market is crowded, with Fitbit, Apple and Samsung all competing. However, with one less competitor in the mix, health wearables may be able to entice abandoned Halo users, who have taken to their Reddit community to discuss alternatives as the clock ticks down until their device is rendered useless.
One brand in particular that Halo users mentioned as their next stop: Whoop.
The human performance company recently released a new science-backed feature that lets users measure daily stress levels and allows them to implement stress reduction interventions in real-time.
The wearable company also lowered its barrier to entry, offering a new pricing structure – the lowest in the brand’s history.
“We want as many people as possible to be able to improve their health. This will make Whoop more accessible than ever before,” Whoop CEO Will Ahmed said in a clip announcing the updated prices.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.