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Intel, still seeking life beyond PCs, abandons wearables for AR

Intel is reportedly giving up on wearables as hype around the technology cools off. CNBC reports that the company laid off its entire Basis group two weeks ago–after a round of deep cuts in November–and is now shifting the focus of its larger New Technologies Group toward augmented reality.

Intel had acquired Basis, a maker of fitness-focused smartwatches in 2014 as part of a broader push into wearable technology, but the company hasn’t found much success since then. Fossil’s Intel-powered Android Wear watch was a poor seller on a platform that’s struggling in general, Basis had to recall its Peak smartwatches due to overheating, and Intel’s talk of smart shirts never went anywhere. Rather than persist in wearables, Intel seems to be pursuing the next big thing in AR. We’ll see in a few years how that turns out. 

Meanwhile, read our interview today with Intel’s chief of self-driving cars, one of the company’s recent ambitions.JN