It has been revealed that Intel are planning to shutter their New Devices Group, disbanding the team behind their augmented reality (AR) smart glasses Vaunt making the project dead in the water before it even had a chance to become reality.
The New Devices Group started life back in 2013 under the guidance of former Apple and Palm executive Mike Bell. Intel were looking for new growth markets at the time to complement their lead in the semiconductor business. Since then the company has invested a large amount of money, upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars (USD), on research and development.
The New Devices Group also looked to get into the wearables sector with the purchase of smartwatch maker Basis for a reported $100 million to $150 million (USD) back in 2014. This was followed by the purchase of Recon, the manufacturer of heads-up display hardware for action sports enthusiasts. It was acquisitions like these that made the bill of Intel’s investment climb rapidly all while no products were on the market.
The early signs of Intel’s trouble with the wearable sector started to show last year when the company disbanded its wearable division as the company switched focuses to AR projects instead. This would, presumably, end up being the Vaunt but Intel did comment at the time there were a number of projects in development but none of them came to see the light of day. Of course Intel ended up closing down the Recon AR glasses division back in October of last year as well.
Now, Intel will be shutting down the New Devices Group, shuttering the Vaunt and putting some 200 workers in a position of job lose of relocation to other divisions. It was reported last year that some 80 employees were laid off in 2016 following reorganizations of the division following Bell’s leave in 2015 but now it all comes to an end. Intel also canceled their all-in-one virtual reality (VR) headset, Project Alloy, back in October of last year.
Not all could be lost though as VRFocus’ Kevin Eva explores in VR Vs. The Dark Horse, in which he talks about how Intel are the one to watch this year in the VR and AR sector, even with all these cancelled projects hanging overhead. The future of Intel’s products within the VR and AR sector are unclear at the moment but they are definitely one to keep an eye on this year, for better or worst.
VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest from the company so stay tuned for more.