Sources say that #Intel has axed its entire smartwatch and fitness-tracker group to redirect their focus and capitalize on #augmented reality. About 80 percent of the team behind the Basis smartwatch was laid off in November 2016 and now, the entire division has been eliminated entirely. Since their big announcement in 2014, the company has been placing less and less emphasis on its wearable business, ArsTechnica reported.

Good bye, wearables

Back in November, it was reported that Intel will slow down on the business after acquisition plans of the Basis fitness watch did not work out. At the time, the company denied breaking up with #wearables.

Advertisements
Advertisements

They even assured that they have several new and exciting products in store for the market.

However, additional sources confirmed that the company did let go of most of the employees from part of the Basis group. Most of them were offered internal transfers to other parts of the business.

The company initially clung to the promise of the wearables category, especially with the performance of similar players such as Apple and Fitbit. In fact, they even partnered with celebrities including 50 Cent to showcase their one of a kind earbuds that senses heart rate. Further, the company invested roughly $100 million for the promotion and production of Basis.

A few higher profile wearables were also launched this year. Intel introduced the New Balance IQ smartwatch in February. In addition, they also collaborated with Tag Heuer in March to release a $1550 Connected Modular 45 smartwatch, which was set to have its own built-in artificial intelligence.

Advertisements

Apart from smart watches, Intel also embraced audio wearables such as the Oakley Radar Pace sunglasses, which has an on-device audio coach as well as attached earbuds. While the advertisement of the wearable collection still on the website, experts say that it could probably be the last chipset we will see from them in a while.

Exploring new ventures

Now, Intel has decided to have a group that explores cutting-edge business areas. The New Technologies Group, which also housed the wearable division, is focusing their research and efforts on augmented reality. With this development, it is evident that the company is determined to chase the next big thing.

Nowadays, the tech world puts great emphasis on investing in augmented reality after it has quickly supplanted virtual reality and wearables. Take Google for instance, who is always at the top of their game. Their Project Tango is said to be releasing a new phone with Asus (Asus Zenfone AR) with augmented reality capability later this year.

Advertisements

Apple also spoke a great deal about the importance of AR at WWDC in June.

Actually, what most people do not know is that Intel is one of the earliest investors in the technology of augmented reality. They channeled investments on the spatially aware RealSense 3D camera in 2014 and with the New Technologies Group's plans on AR, it looks like it is merely a return to form for the company.

The gradual insignificance of the wearables is relatively subject for debate. And now with Intel's departure from the wearable space, the chances of staying in the game seems to be slimming down.