Intel Capital invests in wearable computing specialist

September 27, 2013 | 09:54

Tags: #financial #google-glass #head-up-display #hud #quark #snow #wearable-computer #wearable-computing

Companies: #arm #intel #intel-capital

Intel Capital, the chip giant's investment arm, has once again telegraphed a growing field of interest for the company by investing in a wearable computing specialist.

Intel has long concentrated on high-power, high-performance parts for desktop, laptop and server systems, but in recent years has started to view the low-power and embedded markets with envy. Its early attempts, including an Atom processor designed for consumer electronics devices like set-top boxes, failed to make much of an impact in a market dominated by its Cambridge-based rival ARM, but in its most recent Intel Developer Forum event the company unveiled a new low-power x86-compatible chip family dubbed the Intel Quark with which it hopes to turn heads.

Now, the company has confirmed an investment in Recon Instruments, a Canadian company which produces a wearable computing system with head-up display options for sporting types. Its products include the Snow family of display systems for alpine goggles and more recently the Jet wearable computer - which owes something of a debt of gratitude to Google's Glass device.

Intel's interest in the company comes as it enjoys considerable interest in the Jet platform, which at present is based around a wearable computer powered by a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of DDR SDRAM memory and 8GB of flash storage. With Intel pledging money into the project, however, that is likely to change: future versions are almost certain to be based around Intel parts, which could spell a painful transition period for developers who have been working on software for the ARM-based model.

'Wearable computing is a major, accelerating phenomenon that redefines how we use and interact with information,' claimed Mike Bell, vice president of Intel's New Devices group, at the deal's signing. 'In Recon Instruments, we see compelling technology and a solid strategy to capitalise on the wearable revolution. This is an area of significant focus for Intel Capital, and our investment in Recon Instruments is a key part of our approach to innovation in this emerging space.'

Neither company has publicised the value or terms of the investment deal.
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