Intel purchased smartwatch maker Basis earlier this week for more than $100 million, according to several reports. News of the new acquisition led to some interesting speculation on Intel's possible role in the future of wearable devices.
If you were pining for a smartwatch with Intel Inside, this one is for you; Earlier this week, the chipset giant purchased Basis for somewhere between $100 million and $150 million.
Basis, which makes health and heart rate-monitoring smartwatches, had been shopping itself around to other companies including Google (GOOG), but Intel’s (INTC) multimillion-dollar bid ultimately won Basis over, according to TechCrunch.
No further news regarding the acquisition is available, which opens this all up to a lot of speculation—with its latest purchase, could Intel be formally entering the smartwatch arena against the likes of Apple (APPL) and Samsung? TechCrunch says that it’s more likely that Intel purchased Basis to get access to the company’s designs, which it can use to further its own chipset sales down the road.
According to the article, Intel is trailing behind rivals Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics in terms of providing smartwatch sensors, so snapping up Basis would allow for greater access into the smartwatch chipset business. However, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility that Intel is working on its own device, since the company has yet to make any formal announcements.
AppleInsider reported that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told Reddit users last month he personally uses two wearable devices, one of which is an “internally developed project.” While this is certainly not confirmation of a definitive Intel smartwatch, it is an interesting tidbit that hints at the company’s future in the blossoming world of wearables.
So what would an Intel smartwatch look like? That’s a good question, and one that everyone is sure to be asking over the next few months. The company could produce its own version of Basis’ already established health monitoring watch (since the fate of the current Basis watch is still unknown) or it could go in a different direction entirely, choosing to model the device after wearables such as the Galaxy Gear or the rumored iWatch.
Intel has already shown off some interesting wearable devices at CES 2014, including its own rendition of a Bluetooth headset with a digital assistant, called Jarvis (after Iron Man’s own personal virtual assistant) and a smart chip called Edison, according to ExtremeTech.
Until Intel says anything further, we’ll just have to wait and see—and dream about the possibility of our own super powerful smartwatches someday soon, so we can really feel like Tony Stark.