Amazon is winding down its Halo health trackers in latest cut

Amazon told customers Wednesday, April 26, 2023, that the company is winding down its health-focused Halo devices and membership. It’s the latest cost-cutting move by the tech giant. — Business Wire Inc is pulling the plug on its line of Halo health devices as chief executive officer Andy Jassy seeks to wind down marginal programmes and streamline the retail and cloud-computing giant’s businesses.

Halo – best known as a line of wrist-worn health and fitness trackers introduced in 2020 – will be discontinued on Aug 1, Amazon said in a statement posted to its corporate blog and a notice sent to people who had purchased the device. The product line had expanded in September with the introduction of the Halo Rise, a bedside device that uses radar to analyse a person’s sleep patterns.

The devices, some of which made use of cutting-edge speech recognition technology designed to interpret a person’s emotional state, were among Amazon’s first public efforts to enter the market for health and fitness tools. Since then, Amazon has expanded that project by acquiring 1Life Healthcare Inc, the parent of the One Medical line of doctor’s offices, for US$3.49bil (RM15.57bil), as well as launching an expanded online pharmacy and telehealth offerings.

Amazon encouraged users who want to keep their health data to download it before the devices and a companion smartphone app cease to function on Aug 1. The company says it’s offering a refund on Halo device purchases made in the last 12 months, as well as unused subscription fees associated with the gadgets.

Amazon’s blog post said the end of the programme would entail layoffs. A spokesman declined to specify how many. The company on Wednesday began notifying people set to lose their jobs in the latest round of layoffs, which are falling hardest on the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing arm. Amazon has said the overall cuts, which began in November, will total about 27,000 people.

The Seattle-based company is scheduled to report financial results on Thursday, and investors will be watching to see if cost-cutting measures have helped profitability and whether cloud services sales growth is bottoming out. – Bloomberg

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