Acquisition of leading health band maker allows Intel to continue its development of wearable technology
Intel has apparently completed the purchase of smartwatch manufacturer Basis for a sum thought to be in the region of $100m. The firm was partly funded from Intel’s venture capital arm, and has had Apple and Google tipped as potential buyers.
The deal, which some are putting as high as $150 , signifies Intel’s entry into the wearable technology market as the company looks to refocus its strategies away from PCs and servers and finally succeed in mobile.
Basis currently has around seven percent of the smartwatch market, lagging behind bigger rivals such as Fitbit, Adidas and Jawbone. Its eponymous $199 health band, (pictured below) featuring a consistent heart rate monitor, a workout intensity monitor that tracks perspiration, and a skin temperature reader, is dubbed ‘the world’s most advanced health tracker’ on the company’s website.
Neither Intel nor Basis have commented on the news as yet.
Basis had previously been a privately-held company financed by DCM, Mayfield Fund, and Norwest Venture Partners. Last October, it completed its $23m Series B funding drive thanks partly to major investment from Intel’s Capital division, and previous rumours suggested it would be bought by Google or Apple.
“Wearable computing enables a data-driven approach to managing healthcare and fitness,” Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president said at the time. “By collecting heart rate, skin and ambient temperature data along with movement tracking, the Basis multi-sensor band opens up opportunities for data analytics driving deeper insights into health and personal behaviour.”
Intel indicated at CES earlier this year that wearable technology was going to be a big part of its future plans, based on the company’s newly-announced Edison PC. The size of an SD card, Edison is a dual-core PC based on Intel’s Quark 22nm technology, offering built-in wireless capabilities and support for multiple operating systems which the company hopes will form the basis for a wide range of wearable technology applications.
The company also showed off several prototypes using Edison at CES, including a smart headset linked to an always-on voice recognition system, and smart earphones that can harvest energy from the user whilst providing fitness information, showing that the company is dedicated to developing useful applications for this technology.
“Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren’t yet solving real problems and they aren’t yet integrated with our lifestyles,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the show. “We’re focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge. Our goal is, if something computes and connects, it does it best with Intel inside.”
Krzanich also revealed in a recent Q&A session last month that he currently uses two wearable devices, one being an internally developed project. It is possible the Basis team may well be rolled into Intel projects. Prior to its investment in Basis, Intel had also announced its investment in Recon Instruments, a wearable computing manufacturer specialising in heads-up display (HUD) units for consumer and action sports.
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Originally published on eWeek.