Skip to main content

Layoffs coming for Intel's wearables division

8th gen intel core launch building 01
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The wearables market looked like the perfect market for Intel to enter in 2014, but recent moves by the company — including mass layoffs — paint a different picture for plans within the space.

After acquiring multiple wearables companies in 2014 and 2015, issues with products malfunctioning and an inability to dent the market with sales numbers is causing the tech giant to rethink these gadgets, ant it is unfortunately starting with job cuts.

Intel bought Basis, a maker of fitness smartwatches, in 2014, which the company later made a part of its NDG (New Devices Group) wing. NDG was well-positioned in the market to continue the research and product development necessary to make a play for the the growing wearables market.

The company’s focus on wearables was on display again when Intel purchased Recon, a heads-up display wearables company for athletes including bikers and snowboarders, in June 2015.

At the time, as TechCrunch pointed out, Recon co-founder Dan Eisenhardt said that Intel was the ideal partner for Recon, as Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, made his commitment to the wearables market very clear after assuming his role in 2013.

“He reaffirmed that commitment in his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show this January,” Eisenhardt said. “Brian and his team, including New Technology Group head Josh Walden, share our vision for the potential of smart eyewear in the consumer and enterprise markets, and this deal reflects that shared vision.”

But that vision started to blur this summer, when Intel was forced to recall the Basis Peak smartwatch, because of overheating concerns. Rather than replace the units, the company instead chose to stop production altogether, even though the overheating had affected only 0.2 percent of users. Later that year, Peak’s software support and cloud storage was shut down.

Unnamed sources have told TechCrunch that layoffs are coming and a number of employees have already been informed about the changes, with many of the firings expected to be complete before the end of 2016.

While the future looks bleak for Intel’s NDG, a jump to conclude it will shut down soon would be premature. Firings are common, but a shutdown is less likely than a complete shakeup in Intel’s direction and focus in the wearables market. Stay tuned for updates.

Editors' Recommendations

Harrison Kaminsky
Harrison’s obsession in the tech space originated in his father’s electronics store in Denville, New Jersey, where he…
Intel may already be conceding its fight against Nvidia
Two intel Arc graphics cards on a pink background.

Nvidia continues to own the top-of-the-line GPU space, and the competition just hasn't been able to, well, compete. The announcement of the impressive-sounding RTX 40 Super cards cements the lead even further.

As a result, AMD is said to be giving up on the high-end graphics card market with its next-gen GPUs. And now, a new rumor tells us that Intel might be doing the same with Arc Battlemage, its anticipated upcoming graphics cards that are supposed to launch later this year. While this is bad news, it's not surprising at all.
Arc Battlemage leaks
First, let's talk about what's new. Intel kept quiet about Arc Battlemage during CES 2024, but Tom Petersen, Intel fellow, later revealed in an interview that it's alive and well. The cards might even be coming out this year, although given Intel's track record for not meeting GPU deadlines, 2025 seems like a safer bet. But what kind of performance can we expect out of these new graphics cards? This is where YouTuber RedGamingTech weighs in.

Read more
Intel’s forgotten GPUs are still happening
Intel Arc A580 graphics card on a pink background.

Intel's Arc Alchemist lineup is ill-prepared to compete against some of the best graphics cards out right now, but things might get better once the next-gen Battlemage cards are released. However, Intel kept quiet about the GPUs during its CES 2024 keynote, focusing on processors. It seems that Project Battlemage is still alive and well, though, and a new interview tells us a little more about the future of Intel's graphics cards.

The fact that Intel chose not to mention its discrete GPUs during CES 2024 felt pretty weird, but the silence speaks volumes. The lack of an official statement tells us that the GPUs may be quite far off, and PCWorld's interview with Intel fellow Tom Petersen only serves to confirm that suspicion.

Read more
Why the most powerful laptops of 2024 might not use Intel’s latest chips
The Dell XPS laptop seen from behind, with the chassis half open.

Intel's about to add a whole lot of new chips to its list of top processors, and we just got a peek at a few of them out in the wild ahead of time. According to a new leak, upcoming Dell XPS and Alienware laptops will feature some of Intel's latest Meteor Lake CPUs, including the Core Ultra 7 and Core Ultra 9. However, Intel's previous-gen Raptor Lake processors are also making a surprising appearance in the lineup, which isn't a great sign.

Windows Report posted an exclusive leak that shows us a whole range of high-end laptops, which the publication predicts should be announced during CES 2024. This includes ultrathin Dell XPS 13, 14, and 16 laptops, but there are plenty of options for gamers too, including the Alienware m16 R2, x16 R2, and m18 R2. All of these laptops are said to feature Nvidia's best GPUs from the RTX 40-series.

Read more