Intel and its ‘Basis’ instinct

click to enlargeIntel now in the smartwatch business…or are they?

TechCrunch reported yesterday that fitness tracker Basis sold to Intel, ending weeks of speculation of a sale to Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft. The price is between $100 and $150 million according to TechCrunch’s sources. A higher-end ($200) watch which recently entered the sleep tracking area, Basis’ Health Tracker B1 currently tracks steps (accelerometer), calories burned, heart rate, skin temperature and perspiration through wrist contact. Their proprietary software loads up the information to a dashboard for analysis and tracking. Basis has not developed into a major fitness smartwatch, having 7 percent of the market according to TechCrunch but far less according to NPD Group’s 2013-4 retail sales year , with Fitbit at 68 percent, Jawbone at 19 percent and Nike FuelBand at 10 (Mobihealthnews). With Intel premiering at CES a smart chip called Edison for wearables and a Siri-like Bluetooth headset dubbed Jarvis, the speculation is that the purchase is to give Intel both entreé into and a ready-made working team for the Internet of Things and wearables, since it largely missed the boat in mobile.  Also Motley Fool, Apple Insider and one tech observer on why Intel shouldn’t be in the smartwatch business.

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