Intel is set to completely shutter its wearable unit that has most recently been working on augmented reality solutions, The Information reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the plan. The company has already been reported to have closed down the majority of the division last summer to focus on AR technologies but that bet is now also said to be going to the chopping board. Originally established in 2013, the group previously designed everything from fitness trackers and smart glasses to more general-purpose headsets and other wearables. The company’s arm laid off or otherwise lost some 600 workers between 2016 and early this year when it was reported to still be 200 employees strong. More are now set to lose their jobs, though at least some existing engineers and other professionals are likely to be relocated to Intel’s other businesses.
In a statement provided to The Information, the semiconductor giant said it hasn’t given up on its overall pursuit of new technologies but also hasn’t denied the new report. The Santa Clara, California-based company remains adamant it will continue relying on a “disciplined approach” to investing in emerging solutions and won’t stop shying away from making “tough choices” such as axing departments which aren’t showing enough promise or are facing other issues that the management deems not worth solving.
The last project pursued by the soon-to-be-former wearable division of the company was a pair of smart glasses designed for AR experiences which sounded conceptually similar to Google Glass. The new development suggests Intel still hasn’t found its major growth avenue outside of chips, with the diversification imperative hence continuing to loom over the company. The firm is presently active in a wide variety of industries but primarily through its chips and has otherwise been unable to find any significant success with other products and services. Its core business is presently focusing its R&D funds on 5G and self-driving vehicles, according to recent reports and Intel’s own statements.