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CES: Intel affirms wearables focus with own smartwatch and Edison chip

Firm also looks to rival Google Glass with smart Bluetooth headset
Tue Jan 07 2014, 07:00
Intel CEO talks at the investor day

LAS VEGAS: CHIPMAKER Intel made its first foray in to the wearables market at CES on Monday, unveiling its own smartwatch and a Bluetooth headset device alongside the SD-card sized Edison chip. 

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich gave a keynote address at CES on Monday, where he was keen to prove that the company isn't just about PCs anymore.

Krzanich showed off Intel's first smartwatch device. Although it's still in the prototype stages, the firm clearly is targeting Samsung's Galaxy Gear and the new Pebble Steel, with Krzanich boasting that the device is independent of other devices for phone and internet access, meaning that you don't have to hook it up to your smartphone in order to use it.

The Intel smartwatch is all about location based alerts. It has "geofencing" technology, which means that the device is capable of monitoring the person wearing it from a distance.

Krzanich said, "Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren't yet solving real problems and they aren't yet integrated with our lifestyles. We're focused on addressing this."

The next product on Intel's wearables list is a Bluetooth headset called Jarvis. It's not your average Bluetooth headset, though. This sees the firm looking to challenge Google Glass, as the wearable device listens to voice commands and acts upon them. Details are still sparse, but we'll hope to catch a glimpse of the device on the CES show floor this week.

Intel also announced the SD-card sized Edison PC at CES on Monday, which is a tiny chip destined for wearable devices.

Intel Edison chip is aimed at wearables

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled the device during his keynote speech in Las Vegas, boasting that the tiny device is in fact a Pentium class PC powered by a dual-core Quark system on chip (SoC).

The Edison chip runs Linux, and despite its size, has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth modules. The device can also connect to its own app store, Krzanich boasted, adding that he hopes developers will snap up Edison to build the next generation of wearable and connected devices.

During the keynote, Intel showed off what Edison is capable of by demonstrating a handful of "Nursery 2.0" products that come with the chip. These includes a milk warmer that starts heating up when it hears a baby crying, and a toy frog that reports a child's information to a parent via an LED coffee cup.

As if that wasn't enough to prove that Intel is serious about wearables, Krzanich also announced a "make it wearable" contest that offers $1.3m in prizes.

Intel's smartwatch and Bluetooth headset are both expected to ship later this year, although there's no word on pricing yet. Intel's Edison chip will be available to developers this summer. µ


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