How the Basis Smartwatch Fits Into Intel's Wearable Plans

Intel needs to expand its wearable tech knowledge, and buying Basis Science could do the trick.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:00PM

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has been clear about its wearable ambitions lately, going so far as to show off some of its wearable tech ideas at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. But the company just took a significantly more concrete step forward in the space, if a new report proves true.

Why Basis and why now
Multiple sources have told TechCrunch that Intel paid between $100 million and $150 million for the wearable fitness tracker company Basis Science, though Intel hasn't confirmed this yet. The company has just one product, the Health Tracker watch, but its market share in the fitness tracker space is 7%. That may not seem high, but in a burgeoning market it's enough for Intel to gain some relevant knowledge in the space.

Intel Basis Smartwatch

Source: Basis Science.

The smartwatch does what many other fitness tracking devices do: measure steps, calories burned, heart rate, and even tell how well a user is sleeping. There's already some stiff competition for the Basis watch. Jawbone, which commands about 21% of the fitness tracking market, has a device with similar features. But that shouldn't matter much to Intel.

Selling wearable devices isn't exactly Intel's ambition.

Acquiring the team and technology at Basis would give Intel the opportunity to test its chip designs in proven wearable devices, but also allow the company to try out new ways of testing ARM Holdings technology on wearable software. Though Intel's x86 chip architecture competes with ARM's tech, Intel announced back in October that it would start building ARM processors and even used some of the tech in its wearable tech at CES.

Intel spokesman Bill Calder told CNET back in January that, "The goal is to get into the market as fast as possible with innovative designs and technologies. If that means using a third-party [chip] that's customized by Intel with all the software and product integration done by Intel ... then we'll do it."

Intel wants in on the wearables industry, even if its own chips aren't at the core of it, and even if it means purchasing a wearable fitness tracking company. Intel is determined not to miss out on wearables like it did with mobile. The company has struggled against competitors including Qualcomm, which dominates much of the mobile chip industry.

Tapping into Basis' device, and being willing to use ARM in devices, should allow Intel to stay competitive as the wearable industry takes off.

Foolish thoughts
Intel (reportedly) buying Basis gives the chipmaker a proven road into wearable tech -- which Intel needs. Up to this point the company had little more than a few prototypes and the announced of its tiny Quark chip running on the Edison board. Quark may help the company eventually power wearable tech, along with the Internet of Things, but the Basis acquisition propels Intel into the mix right now.

Investors shouldn't expect the company to start selling Intel-branded fitness trackers anytime soon, but can be pleased that the company is making serious moves to position itself firmly in the wearables space. It's still early in this game, and Intel is already fixated on not missing the next tech revolution.

How to invest early in the Internet of Things
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

 

Fool contributor Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers