Intel just bought Basis—makers of one of the best fitness trackers out there
—for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 million/ £60 million so it doesn't miss the boat on wearables the way it did on phones. For now, that means a really great wearable is off the market, but Basic's guts are bound to rise again. It's just a question of how.
The first, and most likely scenario is that Intel bought Basic to dismantle it and use some of its now Intel-owned unique features, like in-depth online data tracking, as a selling point for its own chips over Qualcomm's and Texas Instruments' which are sort of cornering the wearable market for the time being.
The other, further out scenario is that maybe—just maybe—Intel is gearing up to make a product for consumers. Intel has always had big aspirations and awesome reference designs, but its hardware partners have always been kind of slow on the uptake, much to Intel's chagrin. And while it's always insisted it's not getting into the first-party hardware game, Intel has pretty insane name recognition for a chipmaker. If it did start making gadgets, an Intel fitness tracker would be far from a no-name brand.
Either way it's safe to bet Intel didn't just drop a tonne of cash on Basis just to sit on it. We'll just have to wait and see if it winds up as a selling point for Intel's chips, or the entry point into a whole weird world of Intel hardware. But probably that first one. [TechCrunch]