Intel picks up wearables specialist Basis

March 4, 2014 | 10:45

Tags: #edison #embedded #wearable #wearables

Companies: #arm #intel #intel-capital

Intel is continuing its push into the embedded and wearable computing markets, with reports that it has acquired a wearable healthcare specialist for between $100 million and $150 million at auction.

Basis Science is a 2011 start-up which specialises in wrist-worn health tracking devices, responsible for a claimed seven per cent of the market to better-known rival Jawbone's 21 per cent. The company was founded on around $30 million of venture capital from groups Norwest Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and - interestingly - Intel Capital, the chip giant's venture capital investment arm.

Now, it is reported by TechCrunch - though not yet backed up by an official announcement by either company - that Basis is to become a wholly-owned Intel subsidiary following its acquisition at auction for between $100-150 million. Intel is believed to have beaten out interest from rivals including Google, which is soon to start pushing its own Google Glass wearable computing system at retail.

While Basis currently offers its products to end-users, the interest for Intel is likely more about the technology behind the products. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Intel promised a heavy push into the embedded and wearables space, showing off smart headsets with health-tracking abilities and baby monitoring systems - all, somewhat embarrassingly, built around ARM processors for the prototypes but soon to be replaced with the company's low-power Edison chips.

It's likely that Basis' products will follow the same path, forming a proving ground for Intel's Edison while also providing wearables knowledge and a robust infrastructure for end-user support. Whether this means the company's current products will be discontinued in due course remains to be seen.
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