Intel currently has many things on its plate, but there are chances the chip maker is looking to cut a few things. Citing a source close to the development, CNBC reported that the company axed its internal wearable tech group two weeks ago to move away from health wearables and focus more on advanced technologies.
Is Intel not interested in health wearables?
In 2014, Intel acquired Basis, a smartwatch company, with the intent of ramping up its health wearables offerings. The chip maker then launched its Quark embedded processor and Edison smart chip to compete with Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. In 2015, Intel acquired Recon, a company engaged in designing and manufacturing heads-up display hardware for action and sports fans.
However, the company no longer seems interested in this segment, and thus, it doesn’t want to put efforts into marketing its own wearable devices, notes AppleInsider.
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Intel, however, is busy promoting its Curie chip for connected Internet of Things devices and its partnerships with watch brands such as Tag Heuer, New Balance and Oakley. Intel’s Curie chip is as small as a button and is the centerpiece of a wearable.
Of late, Intel has been focusing on the cloud and Internet of Things technologies rather than PCs. Just last year, the company acquired Irish firm Movidius, which is engaged in making powerful machine vision chip technology.
However, the chip maker has not yet revealed its plans for the wearable space and the Curie chip alone cannot guarantee that the wearable department is there to stay at Intel. After all, the chip could be used in many other applications, so the suspense over Intel’s possible exit from wearables will remain until the company makes it clear.
What the job cuts tell us
In November 2016, TechCrunch reported that Intel was scrapping its wearables business, but the company denied the report.
“In fact, we have several products in the works that we are very excited about, as well as prior launches that highlight our wearable technology such as the TAG Heuer Connected watch and recent Oakley Radar Pace smart eyewear,” the company said at that time.
Now according to CNBC, the chip maker laid off about 80% of the workforce from its Basis group in November, and many of those were were absorbed by various other departments at the company. It will be interesting to see what Intel has to say this time.
Earlier this month, there were also reports that Intel had slashed about 140 jobs after shunning three of its Internet of Things-focused product lines in June. According to various reports, the chip maker ousted about 100 people in Santa Clara, California. Further, according to the Times, over three dozen jobs have been scrapped at a campus in County Kildare, Ireland.
There were reports last month that the company has discontinued the development of the Galileo, Joule and Edison lines. All three modules were designed to power a range of Internet of Things-based devices and applications, including wearables, robotics and smart speakers.