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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.

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