Not too long ago, Intel (INTC) made the decision to compete with Apple (AAPL) and Fitbit (FIT) in the health wearables sector, spending $100 million to acquire a specialist maker of the devices and paying celebrities such as 50 Cent to market the company’s heart-rate sensing earbuds. Three years later, the chipmaker has decided to call it quits, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.
According to CNBC’s source, Intel completely shut down Basis, the wearable maker it acquired in 2014 for $100 million, about two weeks ago. Another source added that the company’s cutting-edge business division, New Technologies Group, had come to the conclusion that capital and energy would be better used in augmented reality efforts.
A Long Time Coming
Interestingly, CNBC claims that most of the work to close Basis began in November. At the end of last year, Intel reportedly axed 80 percent of the division, giving staff who worked there the opportunity to relocate to other parts of the business.
Tech Crunch appeared to be privy to this information, reporting at the time that the company was in the midst of laying off staff. Intel hit back, claiming that it was actually about to release several new wearable products.
Even though Intel continued to insist that wearable technology remained part of its future plans, fresh reports that its ill-fated experiment to lead the sector have come to an end shouldn’t perhaps come as much of a surprise. New product launches have slowed ever since the company was forced to recall the Basis Peak smartwatch in 2016 due to overheating concerns. Plus, as CNBC points out, the chipmaker’s executives haven’t mentioned wearable technology on an earnings call since 2014. (See also: Samsung Surpasses Fitbit in Wearable Device Market.)
Market indicators suggests that demand for wearable health devices remains healthy. However, the sector has also come under fire from some sources. In May, research from Stanford University claimed that the majority of fitness trackers are incapable of reliably measuring how many calories are burned during a workout. (See also: Stanford Study Says Fitness Trackers Can't Count Calories.)