When TechCrunch reported last year that Intel is getting out of wearables, the tech titan vehemently denied it. Now a new report by CNBC indicates that the company is indeed leaving the business behind: the publication says Intel has axed the whole division working on smartwatches and fitness trackers two weeks ago. The New Technologies Group, which is in charge of the chipmaker's cutting-edge businesses, has now reportedly shifted its focus to augmented reality. If true, this is the second project the company has scrapped in recent months: it also canceled the development its Raspberry Pi competitors in June.
According to CNBC's source, the tech giant actually laid off 80 percent of the division's employees in November 2016, so it let fewer people go this time around. A lot of employees in Intel's wearables division came from Basis, the wearable maker it acquired back in 2014 for $100 million. While their division is now dead, they were apparently given the chance to be reassigned to other parts of the company.
Intel purchased Basis in an effort to make a big splash in the wearables space a few years ago. Unfortunately, it had to recall the Basis Peak smartwatch due to overheating concerns, and things never really picked up after that. When we talked to Dr. Jerry Bautista, Intel's wearables VP, at CES earlier this year, it became pretty clear that the corporation had no intention of releasing another Basis-branded smartwatch or fitness tracker.
Needless to say, the division's shut down (if true) didn't come out of left field. Intel hasn't confirmed the report yet, but we might hear something about it during its Q2 earnings call scheduled to take place on July 27th.