| LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS Jan 6 Intel CEO Brian
Krzanich showed off wearable computing devices on Monday
including earbuds that monitor your heart rate and a smart
headset as the world's largest chipmaker tries to get back on
track after missing out on smartphones.
With PC sales falling and smartphone growth tapering off,
Intel and other technology companies are betting that
movement-sensing bracelets, biometric patches and other wearable
electronic devices may catch on with consumers and become major
The evolving category is a major theme at this week's
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with several companies
expected to unveil their own versions of intelligent and
Intel dominates the PC industry, but it has been slow to
adapt its processors for smartphones and tablets, markets now
dominated by rivals like Qualcomm and Samsung
The company has struggled in past attempts to expand beyond
the PC arena. A years-long project to provide consumer TV
services was shelved last year with its technology put up for
sale and the company's mobile processors have barely made a dent
in the global smartphone market even after major improvements to
After replacing former CEO Paul Otellini in May, Krzanich, a
chip manufacturing and operations guru, created a new division
focused on identifying future technology trends and making sure
Intel is not caught off-guard again.
In his keynote presentation at the technology show, Krzanich
introduced some of that group's early results, including sample
gadgets that Intel is promoting to consumer device
"We're looking at a broad ecosystem of wearables, not just
the device or the silicon," he said.
The company unveiled a tiny computer built with Intel's
low-power Quark technology and packaged in an SD-card form
factor aimed at making it easy for clothing and gadget makers to
integrate the platform into wearable products.
Luxury department store Barneys New York is collaborating
with Intel to develop smart bracelets that look like they were
created by a fashion designer and not by an engineer.
At the event, Krzanich also showed off Intel's take on
stereo earbuds for exercise enthusiasts that - as well as
playing music - measure the wearer's heartbeat through their
While other companies have launched similar pulse-taking
audiophones, Intel's are powered through a microphone jack that
connects to the user's smartphone, instead of a separate power
In addition, integrated software can automatically change
the music being played in order to encourage the wearer to speed
up or slow down their workout depending on their heart rate.
Intel also showed off a Bluetooth earpiece and microphone
that the chipmaker says improves the responsiveness of personal
assistant smartphone software like Apple's Siri. The
gadget features always-on technology that makes it easier to ask
questions of the device and also monitors the user's environment
in order to avoid interrupting.
"The real key here is seamless, no buttons, always
listening, but it still has that low-power capability," Krzanich
Krzanich also showed a smartwatch meant for kids with
"geo-fencing" capabilities that alert parents if their children
stray from established walking routes to and from home or school
or don't arrive on time.