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Intel pushes further into wearables market with Google Glass deal


Intel will supply the processor for the next version of Google Glass, which previously featured a chip made by Texas Instruments, as part of Intel’s push into the wearable technology market, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Intel said it will promote the newest version of Google Glass, which is expected to launch next year, to hospital networks and manufacturers, as well as find new workplace applications for the wearable technology device, according to sources close to the matter.

Originally launched in 2012 as a consumer product, Google Glass saw a significant backlash from privacy advocates. Since its launch, Glass has been slowly growing in use, particularly in the workplace.

Under its Glass at Work program, Google has been collaborating with various software developers such as Augmedix and APX Labs to promote the use of the device in the health care, construction and manufacturing sectors, where people tend to work with their hands but require easy access to information online.

“We expect Glass to evolve and be more useful for companies, but it will still be a crossover device for consumers,” said Eric Johnsen, vice president of business development at APX Labs, a company that develops Glass software for manufacturing, oilfield-services and logistics firms.

Johnsen, a former Google employee who started Glass at Work program before joining APX, said the new version of Glass will feature longer battery life.

Intel has been largely successful in the computer processor market with its chips powering the majority of personal computers and servers used in data centers today. However, a late start to the mobile market resulted in Intel losing significant business to rival products based on technology licensed by ARM Holding.

Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich, who was appointed in May 2013, is working hard to ensure that the company does not make the same mistake in the wearable technology market.

The company has targeted the wearable market with various products including its Quark x86 processor, Edison circuit board, and SoFIA chip that combines a processor with cellular communications.

Mike Bell, head of Intel’s new devices group, has led his team to quickly and flexibly bring these new products to market.

Though it remains to be seen which Intel processor will be used in the new version of Google Glass, but it will definitely be one that focuses on power conservation considering Glass’ small battery size.

Previously reported, Intel Capital recently invested $28 million in Chinese biometrics, internet of things, wearables and in-game communications firms, along with the developer of a major Chinese Android fork.

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