We didn’t think they’d do it — and in truth, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to us — but Intel and Basis announced today that the former company has bought the latter. No price was stated, although TechCrunch put the price at $100 million.
Intel, of course, wants very badly to be in the wearables chip market. Basis makes one of the better heart-rate sensor watches, and is therefore a good platform for Intel’s wearables technology. (Intel was an investor in Basis and had a seat on its board.)
But we’re not aware that Intel has any other consumer products; in fact, it’s beaten a strong retreat from that business over the years. A search of Amazon for Intel products yielded lots of i5 and i7 processors, a network computer or two, a motherboard or two, a couple of board-level cards, and an SSD drive. Nothing that you’d find at REI. If the retail market is one that Intel is seriously pursuing, that’s a very big deal.
The Intel/Basis press release says that Basis will be run as part of the company’s New Devices group, and Basis CEO Jef Holove will become a general manager in that group. We’ve contacted Intel PR and a top exec in the New Devices group; we’ll update if/when we hear anything from them about their plans.