Amazon pulls the plug on Halo division, discontinues all devices


Amazon has decided to shutter its health-focused Halo division, The Verge has learned. Amazon has stopped selling its three Halo products and plans to lay off portions of the Halo team.

“We have made the difficult decision to wind down the Halo program, which will result in role reductions,” Melissa Cha, Amazon’s VP of smart home and health, told staffers in an email obtained by The Verge. “More recently, Halo has faced significant headwinds, including an increasingly crowded segment and an uncertain economic environment. Although our customers love many aspects of Halo, we must prioritize resources and maximize benefits to customers and the long-term health of the business.”

Cha went on to write that all Halo hardware would be discontinued, with operations winding down over the next several months. According to the Wayback Machine, the Halo View was available earlier this month, while both the Band and Rise were available last week. However, it seems that the Band, View, and Rise have all since been pulled from Amazon’s site, though they are available at some third-party retailers as of this writing.

“We continually evaluate the progress and potential of our products to deliver customer value, and we regularly make adjustments based on those assessments,” Amazon spokesperson Kristy Schmidt told The Verge in an email. “We recently made the difficult decision to stop supporting Amazon Halo effective July 31, 2023. 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.”

The news isn’t a huge surprise. Not only did Amazon kick off another round of layoffs today, but the company was also incredibly late to the fitness tracker game. The original Halo Band was a bare-bones tracker that launched in 2020. At the time, rivals like Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung had already added EKG and atrial fibrillation features to their smartwatches. The simple Band, while affordable, was also somewhat controversial. Its two marquee features were that it could generate a 3D image of a user to measure body fat, as well as monitor a user’s tone when speaking to others. It followed up with the Halo View in 2021 and recently launched the Halo Rise, a contactless sleep tracker and smart alarm clock.

In a blog, Amazon now says that it will fully refund any customers who bought a Halo device or accessory band in the last 12 months. All unused prepaid Halo subscription fees will be refunded, and users will no longer be charged. Amazon also noted that the devices will stop working on August 1st and that all remaining data will be deleted. Users can also download or delete their data before then via the Settings page in the Halo app.

Update, April 26th, 3:15PM: This post was updated to include Amazon’s statement and product refund information for customers.



Source link

Leave a Comment