Having just launched a high-end bracelet for geeky ladies, Intel seems to be on fire as far as wearables are concerned. Now the CPU manufacturer announced a partnership with Fossil that should yield a few smartwatches.
Given the parties involved in this partnership, one could say that Intel and Fossil are preparing the ground for wearables in general, but given Fossil’s background, it couldn’t anything else but smartwatches these two companies could ever team up for. Not long ago, the CPU maker announced a partnership with SMS Audio (one of rapper 50 Cent’s startups) that will result in BioSport biometric earbuds that are to be released soon.
Mike Bell, Intel’s vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group, pointed out that : “We are focused on identifying trends and emerging uses of technology and accelerating wearable technology innovation worldwide.” The way I see it, Intel is not trying to align itself with other tech giants, but rather with its competitors. Qualcomm, the other big player in the chipset industry, launched the Toq smartwatch exactly one year ago, and Intel is trying to follow the trend.
While powered by an Intel chipset, the child resulting from the marriage of the two companies will most like feature the Fossil brand on the dial. Also, I doubt it that Intel will roll its own mobile OS, so it’s almost a certainty that their brainchild will run Android (preferably the Wear flavor, rather than the classic one).
Intel Capital has shown some interest in wearable tech for quite a while now, having invested in such companies as Thalmic Labs and Basis. While the former developed an armband that enables people to control computers with hand gestures, the latter has only made a fitness band. Knowing that Intel has been eyeing this field for while, it was about time it got down to business and proceeded to making its own wearable.
The partnership will undoubtedly be beneficial for Fossil, as well. Wealthy people may continue to buy conventional luxury wristwatches, but that doesn’t mean that watchmakers shouldn’t adapt to our time and age. One of the problems that I foresee is the trend of turning regular smartwatches into luxury products by adding some bling-bling in the form of diamonds and crystals. That would really be a pity, but I’m sure that Intel and Fossil won’t get into that.