Intel Looks Like It Is Shutting Down Its Wearables Unit

July 20, 2017, 3:52 PM UTC

Microprocessor giant Intel has eliminated the group dedicated to making wearable devices like fitness trackers and smart watches, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

Intel (INTC) execs have not talked up their wearable effort for months. That’s quite a contrast from two years ago when Aysegul Ildeniz, then vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Devices group, told Fortune about the company’s goal of creating devices to help elderly people keep in touch with doctors and family. Ildeniz left Intel a year ago and is now chief operating officer of Silver Springs Networks, according to her LinkedIn profile.

It appears that Intel has been paring back this wearables effort for some time. In November, tech news site TechCrunch reported that it had laid off a good chunk of the people working on wearables at that time.

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CNBC now says Intel shuttered the unit completely two weeks ago. Intel declined comment for this story.

Related: The World of Wearables, According to Intel

Intel made a bet on smart wearables, basically small computerized devices that collect and transmit information about that person. In 2014, it purchased Basis Science, which made a fitness tracker, for a reported $100 million. Last year, Basis Peak watches were recalled for safety reasons, and the back end service was ended in September. For a while, such trackers made by the likes of Fitbit (FIT) and Jawbone constituted a booming market. But the category has now cooled down considerably. Jawbone, for example, shut down early this month,

Related: Intel Brings Wind River Into its Core

Intel, as of late, has been talking up augmented reality as a key focus of its efforts as it continues Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s effort to expand beyond its traditional PC microprocessor business. In that market, users typically wear helmets or special glasses that let them “see” virtual objects. Such helmets are, broadly speaking, wearables.

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