Semiconductor company Intel is shuttering its New Devices Group, the unit that was focused on consumer products including augmented reality glasses, which it launched earlier this year.
CNBC, citing an Intel spokesperson, reported the company is exiting the wearables market and will focus on making chips for the computer market. Intel is the leading maker of chips for laptops, PCs and servers but also dabbles in other areas. The company will continue to be on the lookout for new technologies as well. Layoffs, noted CNBC, which cited The Information, could come, given the group was 200 strong earlier in 2018. “Intel is continuously working on new technologies and experiences,” an Intel spokesperson told CNBC in an email. “Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market. The Superlight project is a great example where Intel developed truly differentiated, consumer augmented reality glasses. We are going to take a disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don’t support further investment.” Superlight was the codename for Vaunt, the augmented reality glasses that the unit launched earlier in the year. CNBC noted the glasses haven’t been well received, with the product having some “shortcomings.”
The New Devices Group was formed in 2013 soon after Brian Krzanich took over the helm as chief executive from Paul Otellini. A reorganization in 2015 resulted in the New Devices Group and the New Technology Group merging. The unit was expanded in part via buys such as Basis Science, which is a fitness watch company. Intel laid off 80 percent of those working in that group last year, noted the report. In a memo sent to employees in December, Intel’s Krzanich said the company would take more risks but didn’t mention the New Devices Group, noted CNBC. “Anything that produces data, anything that requires a lot of computing, the vision is, we’re there,” he wrote in the memo.