Intel set to be another wearables casualty

It’s a sub-sector which has promised more false dawns than the England Football team, and now it seems the wearables division has claimed Intel as its latest victim,

According to sources at The Information, Intel will be shutting down its New Devices group, a division it set up in 2013 to make fitness trackers and smart-glasses. After ploughing an unknown amount of cash into the experiment, probably a scary number of millions, the division will be resigned to the scrap heap.

In fairness, it would be cruel to blame Intel too much, as this is a trap which has caught up many of the major players of the technology world. The promise of wearables and the connected community looks very inviting, but no-one has been able to make it work. Google tried and failed with its AR glasses, GoPro looked to have a solid foundation to progress into the connected era but is struggling now, Snap is supposedly having another attempt at making Spectacles work, while Apple and Huawei are continuing their efforts on smartwatches with little notable success to date.

Trying to redefine the an important aspect of the consumers life is difficult, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There are so many different factors it makes it a very difficult game, scaring to participate for some organizations, making the rewards more attractive. Wearables seems to be one of those sectors which has come to the market just a bit too soon. Looking at the development of the digital economy, you can see why it would work, but the consumer just isn’t ready yet.

This might be an idea to bear in mind for the next couple of years. As it stands, the communications world is still dominated by the touch interface, making the introduction and adoption of wearables less likely. The status quo is starting to get challenged by the voice interface, which may well open the doors to wearables acceptance and normalization, but that is a conversation for the future.

Intel made a bet on the wearables space, and now it looks like a failure, however that is the kindness and cruelty of hindsight; everyone is an expert on today when assessing it tomorrow. Not every gamble will be a loser though, Intel is showing some motivation, trying to get in on the ground floor of the next defining piece of tech. Considering its dominant position when it comes to data centres, a healthy and growing cash cow, there is room to explore and be ambitious.

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