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AliveCor has ceased sales of the KardiaBand, an ECG smart band for the Apple Watch that added the heart-monitoring functionality to the wearable device, but while there is no explanation for the withdrawal of the product from purchase, it may be due to the introduction of the ECG-equipped Apple Watch Series 4.
The AliveCor KardiaBand was the first accessory for the Apple Watch providing ECG functions that passed muster with the Food and Drug Administration for consumer use, allowing it to go on sale in the United States in late 2017 after a year of availability in Europe. By placing a finger on the band's sensor pad for 30 seconds, the strap then provides the reading to the Apple Watch.
Despite its FDA approval, AliveCor has seemingly given up on the KardiaBand, with MobiHealthNews spotting the sales page on the company's website was pulled in the middle of June, while the site's frontpage updated its menu to remove KardiaBand completely in early July. AliveCor's Amazon vendor profile also no longer lists the wristband.
"In 2017, we were proud to launch the first FDA-cleared accessory for the Apple Watch," a statement from the company reads. "Since then, we've focused on expanding the capabilities within our KardiaMobile products and recently announced KardiaMobile 6L, the first of its kind six-lead mobile ECG."
Claiming it is committed to "empowering customers with deeper knowledge about their heart health" and innovating on related technologies, the firm advised it still plans to continue supporting KardiaBand "indefinitely."
The launch of the Apple Watch Series 4 with built-in ECG functionality may have been a sign for AliveCor that their time with the Apple Watch was up. Even so, AliveCor then-interim CEO Ira Bahr advised at the time "We're not convinced that Apple's excellent, engaging product is a competitor yet," citing the need to buy into the Apple ecosystem to use the device, and that the platform is both too expensive and complicated. Apple wasn't apparently "targeting the patient populations" AliveCor was going for.
The Apple Watch's ECG function had one considerable advantage over the KardiaBand, in that the latter required users to have their first ECG reading to be reviewed by a U.S. Board-certified cardiologist before the customer could see the reading. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, had FDA clearance to show the first ECG to users without a prior doctor review.
Update: AliveCor supplied AppleInsider with a similar statement as provided to the original report. It reads in full:
In 2017, we were proud to launch the first FDA-cleared accessory for the Apple Watch. Since then, we've focused on expanding capabilities within our KardiaMobile products and recently announced KardiaMobile 6L, the first of its kind 6-lead mobile ECG. We're committed to empowering customers with deeper knowledge about their heart health, while continuing to innovate new technologies and capabilities.