Basis has been in talks with just about everybody the past few months to sell its technology to tech giants looking to acquire its hardware and talent. It looks like Intel has sealed the deal at a cost of around $100M, sources familiar with the deal tell Wearable World.
Basis makes wristband health trackers, which compete with the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone. Basis currently has captured around 7% of the market, whereas Fitbit has around 58% and Jawbone 21%. Earlier this year at CES, Intel touted a new line of its own wearables, including a wireless recharging bowl, smart headset and smart earphones. Intel also announced it was working with New York fashion label Opening Ceremony to design a smartwatch – though the company has refused to say much more than the fact it’s in the works.
With the Basis acquisition, it’s clear that Intel is serious about designing a smartwatch. In a recent interview with Stephen Holmes, Vice President at Intel, we were told that the other products that Intel were working on would be ready by Christmas. The smartwatch, however, is still clearly in concept stage with no ETA. The company may be outsourcing design – a critical component for mainstream adoption of wearables – but by acquiring Basis, Intel now has the technology (read: engineers) to work on this project internally and position itself amongst other leaders in the smartwatch space – and those looking to catch up (and will likely do so quickly), including Apple.
Holmes explained that Intel is strategically making a move into wearables. As he said, “For Intel, there’s a recognition the push behind wearables is being driven by technology companies, but these are companies that don’t have experience making ergonomic products that consumers would want to wear for extended periods of time. There’s an opportunity for a company like Intel that has depth and engineering to bring them into the conversation to bring wearables ubiquitous.”
He also added that Intel definitely does want to be the leader in the industry – not trailing behind, and definitely not playing catch up. Having the right internal resources is key to making this happen. “As Intel has the resources – including the engineers and the money – to develop these types of wearables, it’s now a matter of strategy.” Holmes added that “Brian Krzanich, [Intel’s chief executive] has been really clear – if it’s a computer, we want Intel inside. Wearables is the next stage of computing which is going to be very personal.”
With the Basis acquisition, there’s no doubt that Intel will now have the right resources to design these wearables – and be a leader in the industry.
Both Basis and Intel have declined to comment.