Google, Sony and Samsung are about to get some powerful company in the wearable device market. Intel is entering the fray through a strategic investment in a promising technology that could compete at some level with Google Glass.
Intel is betting an undisclosed amount on Recon Instruments, an award-winning technology company that claims the rights to the world's first consumer Heads-Up Displays (HUD) for sports. Recon called the investment "significant."
"Wearable computing is a major, accelerating phenomenon that re-defines how we use and interact with information," said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel Corporation. "In Recon Instruments, we see compelling technology and a solid strategy to capitalize on the wearable revolution. This is an area of significant focus for Intel Capital, and our investment in Recon Instruments is a key part of our approach to innovation in this emerging space."
Intel's Vision for Wearables
The Intel Capital backing will support Recon's product development, marketing, and global sales expansion. Recon also expects to benefit from the chipmaker's expertise in manufacturing, operations, and technology.
Founded in 2008, Recon's multi-patent and patent-pending technology platform integrates a HUD with a micro-computer and sensor suite. Recon's HUDs run an operating system with an open Software Development Kit (SDK) to encourage developers to create apps for sports, social and contextual cases. Recon already has worldwide distribution and partnerships with leading technology and optics companies.
"We have spent the last five years leading the Heads-Up Display category in the consumer space. In fact, Recon has shipped more than 50,000 Heads-Up Displays worldwide, including a very successful campaign in Apple retail stores," said Dan Eisenhardt, CEO of Recon.
"Our products are engineered to deliver instant information, direct-to-eye and without distraction in the most demanding environments on Earth," Eisenhardt said. "Intel Capital shares our vision for wearable technology, which enhances users' performance and experience across a broad range of sports and outdoor activities."
Intel Refuses To Miss Out
Avi Greengart, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, tells us he is not surprised that Intel is making this bet.
"Intel dominated the PC desktop and laptop era, and largely missed the phone and tablet era. It will be damned if it is going to miss anything else," he said. "So we are seeing Intel make a lot of investments in everything from set top boxes to wearables to the Internet of Things."
Earlier in September, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled his vision at the Intel Developer Forum. He made it clear that Intel plans to be smack dab in the middle of everything from data centers to mobile devices, such as tablets, phones and wearables.
Laying out Intel's vision at the San Francisco conference, Sept. 10, Krzanich described how the company is addressing each market segment -- such as accelerating Intel's progress in mobile devices -- with new products over the next year and beyond.
"Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel's strengths," he said. "We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower-power Relevant Products/Services regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing."