Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 02, 2014

Intel Delves into the World of Wearables with Google Glass Deal

In May 2013, Intel’s then CEO, Paul Otellini confessed that he made a mistake of historic proportions. Apple had given Intel the chance to be part of the smartphone era, to supply the processor for the first iPhone - Otellini said no. Later it seemed that there were several opportunities for Intel to break into the world of wearable technology, unfortunately we did not see anything. While there was opportunity for the x86 chips to find a home inside smartphones, you will find that most are powered by ARM technology.

 
A little over a year ago, Brian Krzanich was named CEO and took over the reins at Intel. He quickly took the bull by the horns, so to speak and admitted that mistakes were made in the past which led to missed opportunities in several fields. It does seem that Intel has made some changes in the past year.
 
The Wall Street Journal announced last week that according to people familiar with the matter, that Intel would be supplying the electronic brains for a new version of Google Glass which is expected sometime next year. Intel will replace Texas Instruments’ processor which was used in the original version of the device.
 
What was once looked at a creative device to wear and take videos while you went skydiving or simply taking a bike ride could possibly be taking on a slightly different perspective. It seems that Intel’s goal is to promote Google Glass on the business side. Intel is looking at companies such as hospital networks and manufacturers alongside finding new opportunities in the workplace.
 
In the past year that Krzanich has been leading the company, Intel has managed to focus on the world of wearable technology. We have seen several products come from Intel, such as an ultra-small x86 processor called Quark, a tiny circuit board for wearable devices called Edison and a chip called SoFIA that combines a processor with cellular communications.
 
It is this initiative that we are finally seeing from Intel that shows that we can expect to see some interesting developments in Google Glass and possibly other forward thinking products. Intel chips are powering Google servers and the companies are working together on Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems. Intel’s Xeon chips have been used in Google’s self-driving cars and the company’s Atom chips are used in the Nexus Player, which is a new Google streaming-media device. So you can see that the two companies have been developing a partnership.
 
In addition, the head of Intel’s new design group is Mike Bell. He comes to Intel with experience from both Palm Inc. and Apple. The design group has been quite active lately, Bell’s team is being flexible in the way that it is cutting deals to get new products to market.
 
Eric Johnsen, who started the Glass at Work program at Google, is now the vice president of business development at APX Labs. This company makes Glass software used by manufacturing, oilfield-services and logistics companies. He said “We expect Glass to evolve and be more useful for companies, but it will still be a crossover device for consumers.”
 
While no mention has been made about which Intel chip Google plans to use in its newest version of Glass, one thing that you can guarantee will get a lot of attention is power conservation and longer battery life. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Google Glass now that Intel is inside.



Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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