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Amazon’s latest devices push it deeper into wellness, cars

This image provided by Amazon shows the Halo Rise bedside smart alarm. The e-commerce and tech giant said Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, that it will start selling the device later this year.Associated Press

Amazon.com Inc.’s annual device event Wednesday showed the e-commerce giant pushing further into wellness, security and the auto industry, underscoring an effort to weave its technology into every part of consumers’ lives.

The lineup unveiled at the presentation includes a bedside device called Halo Rise and an upgraded array of Echo smart speakers, as well as a new Kindle and enhanced security technology from Amazon’s Ring division.

Though Amazon remains in the shadow of companies like Apple Inc. in hardware technology, it’s rapidly spreading its reach. New wellness products complement a broader expansion into the health-care industry that already includes an online pharmacy, a wearable wellness device and a range of experiments in applying data analysis tools to medical science.

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The company announced plans in July to buy One Medical in a deal valued at $3.49 billion. That company, whose parent is called 1Life Healthcare Inc., operates 182 medical offices in 25 markets in the US.

The circular bedside device, with a ring-shaped light and digital clock face, is a combination sleep tracker, lamp and alarm clock. It will be available later this year for $140, Amazon said.

The gadget uses low-power radar to analyze the person sleeping closest to it, the Seattle-based company said at the event. Unlike many of Amazon’s home electronics, it has neither a speaker nor microphone. Halo Rise can determine a user’s respiratory rate and has environmental sensors to determine temperature. The product also integrates with the Alexa voice assistant and the Echo smart speaker to play music and take commands such as dimming the lights.

Wednesday’s event ranged from relatively minor upgrades to more ambitious plans, such as a pilot program to turn Amazon’s Astro robot into a security guard for businesses. The shares gained as much as 2.8 percent to $117.63.

Amazon and BMW also announced that the carmaker is working on a new version of its voice control system that is built upon Alexa. The company in recent years has worked to extend the reach of its voice assistant by offering its underlying building blocks to other companies to create their own custom software.

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Amazon doesn’t disclose revenue from its devices group, but the business is thought to be a relatively small part of the company’s sales, which are mostly fueled by e-commerce orders, third-party seller services and cloud offerings. But the products can help keep customers loyal to the company, and the purchase of one device often spurs the purchase of another.

With the new sleep tracker, users can view reports — such as how much deep sleep they got — via an Amazon Echo Show, the company’s speaker with a screen. In 2020, Amazon introduced the Halo Band, an activity tracker that it paired with a subscription wellness service.