Wearable Tech World Feature Article
March 05, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Intel Acquires Wearable Tech Firm Basis Science

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for Basis Science, the company that created the Basis Health Tracker Watch, but it seems the ride is now over. According to TechCrunch, the company has been purchased by Intel for somewhere in the range of $100 to $150 million following plenty of collective interest from a number of big names in tech, including Google, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft.

Although not the biggest name in the wristwatch health tracker segment, Basis is an important player nonetheless. This, coupled with the fact that so many tech companies are big on wearables right now, likely factored into the acquisition and the attention leading up to it.

Intel especially has been looking to break into the wearable tech space recently if its CES booth was any indication. At the show, Intel had a number of reference designs on display, including a Bluetooth headset named Jarvis and the Edison smart chip, which is apparently suitable for a range of unique wearable device uses.

Basis smartwatch, image via Geeky Gadgets

That said, it’s not clear that Intel is interested in directly competing in the wearable tech market with consumer offerings. After all, that would be contrary to the company’s usual MO: selling chipset platforms.

It’s also worth noting that Intel has been more of an investor in the wearables space so far and less of an active participant. In fact, Intel Capital was one of the investors that participated in Basis’ recent Series B funding round, along with earlier investors DCM and Norwest Venture Partners, and new investors iNovia Capital, Dolby Family Trust, Stanford University and Peninsula-KCG.

As such, it’s hard to imagine this acquisition being much more than further investment for Intel. After all, it now has an experienced team that can help improve future reference designs.

This seems likely since rival chipmakers in the space — Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments in particular — currently have quite the head start over Intel. Maybe Basis is a way to cover lost ground quickly.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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