Trending: Company backed by Bill Gates claims solar breakthrough, looks to replace fossil fuels in industrial plants
Dave Limp, Amazon’s VP of hardware, revealed the Echo Buds at the company’s device event in Seattle on September 25, 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon’s Echo Buds are capable of tracking steps in some versions of the Alexa app, according to a report from CNBC. Step tracking, calorie counting, and run tracking were among the features rumored to be coming to the $129.99 wireless headphones, though none were mentioned during a launch event in September.

(Amazon Photo)

The revelation comes hot on the heels of Google’s plan to acquire FitBit for $2.1 billion. Apple and Microsoft also both recently unveiled high-end in-ear wireless headphones but did not reveal any built-in fitness features.

CNBC reporter Todd Haselton spotted the step-tracking capability on Echo Buds while reviewing a test version of Amazon’s Fire HD 10 tablet. Haselton found a “Fitness” section within the Alexa app where users control the Echo Buds. It included the ability to toggle a “track workout” feature and enter a fitness profile.

After turning on step tracking, Haselton went for a walk and saw that the earbuds were, in fact, counting his steps. He was able to turn on the feature through the tablet and on his iPhone, but not on a third phone.

Amazon declined to comment on the step-tracking feature.

It’s possible that the Echo Buds will find a place within Amazon’s broader healthcare ambitions. Amazon opened the door for health apps on Alexa earlier this year by allowing developers to create HIPAA-compliant apps. The company is also investing in improving healthcare for its own employees — both through a joint venture called Haven and through Amazon Care, an on-demand primary care program for employees.

Amazon’s Echo Buds feature Bose active noise reduction technology and five hours of battery life (or up to 20 hours with a case). They work with Siri and Google Assistant, in addition to Alexa.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.