Report: Intel Discontinues Its Wearable Unit To Focus On AR

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Intel reportedly discontinued its wearable division a few weeks back in a move that suggests the company is giving up on its effort to gain a stronghold in this segment. According to a new report, the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing firm has completely shut down the unit in early July after supposedly laying off approximately 80 percent of its employees from the Basis group last November. Basis was acquired by the chipmaker in 2014 for $100 million in an effort to join Intel’s consumer tech efforts and accelerate the firm’s advancements in this field, though the Santa Clara, California-based giant is said to be displeased with the performance of its acquisition.

Just three years ago, Intel had high hopes that it would succeed in gaining a foothold in the wearable segment with a major help from Quark, a wearable-oriented microprocessor from the company. During that same period, Intel even planned to forge a partnership with watch and fashion accessory retailer Fossil to produce wearable computing products. At the time, it was also believed that Intel’s entry into the wearable space could see the company powering the Google Glass, though the latest turn of events indicates that the tech giants turning on those ambitions and its New Technologies Group is now looking into other directions.

The aforementioned unit is now seemingly shifting its focus to augmented reality (AR); just recently, analytics firm Quid listed Intel as one of the biggest names in the tech industry that have been investing massive amounts of money in virtual reality (VR), and it seems that the Silicon Valley giant is now also looking to commit to the AR segment. A number of industry watchers expect the VR And AR industries to grow at a rapid pace in the coming years, with many companies seeing this sector as a good opportunity for quick growth. A recent report from SuperData Research also indicated that video games would drive the VR hardware this year, though it remains to be seen whether the gaming industry could do the same for AR seeing how that particular field represents an even bigger niche. Ultimately, time will tell whether Intel’s decision to give up on wearables proves to be the correct one in the long term.