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Intel Storms mHealth Market with $100M Acquisition of Basis


Posted in Mobile Health by Chris Wiltz on March 25, 2014

Intel has acquired smartwatch maker Basis Science as part of its New Devices Group aimed at creating new wearable products and technologies


After months of rumors (one's that included a courtship from Google), Basis Science Inc., maker of the Basis health tracker watch, has been acquired by Intel at a price analysts are estimating at around $100M. Intel executives have been on the Basis Science board since October 2013.

 
The Basis health tracking watch will be a part of Intel's Devices Group.
Basis Science assures its customers that the Basis watch will still be supported by the company, but will now be a part of Intel's product portfolio in the company's newly-announced New Devices Group.
 
Intel formally announced the creation of its New Devices Group in May 2013 as part of CEO Brian Krzanich's plan to increase Intel's market share in mobile technology. The chip maker has a firm foothold in tablets and PCs but hasn't gained as large of a mobile presence as competitors like Qualcomm.
 
Under Krzanich's plan consumers should expect Intel to ramp up its development of wearable devices and products.
 
In an email retrieved by Reuters Krzanich said, "The new devices organization is responsible for rapidly turning brilliant technical and business model innovations into products that shape and lead markets.”
 
Intel seems to view health and fitness tracking as the quickest and easiest entry point into the market. Of the Basis acquisition, Intel VP and general manager of the New Devices Group, Mike Bell, said, "The acquisition of Basis Science provides immediate entry into the market with a leader in health tracking for wearable devices. As we accelerate our position in wearables, we will build upon this foundation to deliver products that bring people greater utility and value.”
 
In January, Krzanich delivered a keynote at CES 2014, that put forth Intel's commitment into entering the wearables market. He showed off several products including a pair of smart earbuds with built-in heart rate sensors, codenamed Jarvis (like Iron Man?) and a bowl-shaped platform dubbed the “smart charging bowl” capable of wirelessly charging multiple mobile and wearable devices at once.
 
And yes, Intel is jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon with a product of its own. Given these ambitions it is doubtful that Intel will continue to support two competing products (the Basis and its own smartwatch) for very long. The smart money would bet that Intel will phase out the Basis and fold Basis technology into its own products in the future. However, an Intel representative clarifies that Intel's watch is reference design intended to show other companies certain capabilities that are becoming possible with wearables. 
 
The Basis is one of the older but more popular smartwatches on the market. In a 2013 product review Popular Science called it “The Only Fitness Tracker Worth Buying.” 
 
The watch features what's now become the standard gamut of fitness tracking features but distinguishes itself from the competition based on the quality of its sensors.
 
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demonstrated the company's new commitment to wearable technology at CES 2014. 
 
-Chris Wiltz, Associate Editor, MD+DI
Christopher.Wiltz@ubm.com
 
 
Corrections: a previous version of this article identified Intel's new division as the Devices Group. It is, in fact, called the New Devices Group and was announced in May 2013. 
 
The name of Intel's wirless charging platform is the "smart charging bowl." 

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