Internal documents reveal Amazon sees this as a health and wellness product that’s voice-activated and controlled via a smartphone app.
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This story originally appeared on PCMag
It seems Amazon is preparing for a push into the wearable device market with a voice-activated gadget capable of detecting human emotions.
As Bloomberg reports, the in-development wearable, which goes by the codename Dylan, was revealed by internal documents the publication has seen. While it’s unclear what type of wearable this will be, a fitness tracker-style device or smartwatch seems most likely. It will be equipped with microphones and require pairing with a smartphone app to function.
The device is being developed by Lab126 and the Alexa software team internally. Lab126 is known for having developed the Kindle, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, Fire Phone, Echo smart speaker, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap, so it certainly has the required experience to create an Alexa-using wearable (beyond Alexa Earbuds).
Internal documents alone are not enough to prove anything beyond a hardware experiment is underway, however, a person familiar with the program who requested anonymity told Bloomberg that beta testing was underway. Clearly Amazon has something worth trailing already, even if the company is refusing to comment at the moment, which is understandable.
Consumers are very willing to have an always-listening smart assistant present in their homes, but how will they react to a device that can sense emotions being felt? We’re already used to wearing fitness trackers and having our body’s data collected, so this probably isn’t a massive leap for people to accept. What’s key is how Amazon uses the emotion information to enrich our lives, but just as importantly, how it uses the data for its own benefit.