Intel CEO Krzanich unveils a host of wearables

LAS VEGAS--Intel CEO Brian Krzanich showed off numerous wearable computing devices during his keynote Monday night here at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. The goal was to showcase that even though Intel may have missed the shift toward smartphones and tablets, it is doing a lot to catch up in what may be the next wave of computing.

Wearables are a major theme here at CES, with a bevy of companies showing off their wares, most of them in the smart watch category. Krzanich and Intel went broader than that, showing off a handful of devices in different categories. "We're looking at a broad ecosystem of wearables, not just the device or the silicon," he said, according to Reuters.

One gadget the Intel chief showed off was a pair of smart earbuds with biometric and fitness capabilities and sensors that measure a user's heart rate. Other companies have launched earbuds, but Intel's smart earbuds get their power through a microphone jack that connects to the user's smartphone, instead of a separate power source, Reuters noted.

Krzanich also showed off a smart watch that he said is capable of displaying location-based notifications, unlike other smart watches currently on the market, according to The Next Web. Another gadget was an earpiece that wirelessly connects to a user's phone, and can passively "listen" to its owner and respond when needed. As the New York Times noted, at that point, if necessary, it could rely on the phone for information, to conduct a search or make a call.

"It would talk when you're talking, because it's listening to you," Mike Bell, the head of Intel's new devices division, told the Times. "If you address it directly, it wakes up."

Intel is not going to bring such devices to market on its own; instead the company is working with potential customers, presumably OEMs, for the gadgets to go on sale this year. "We think there's a really good business in this," Bell told Bloomberg. "The market is wide open, nobody has leadership yet."

Other chipset companies, such as Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), are also looking hard at wearables as a growth driver. Qualcomm has developed a reference design smart watch called Toq that it is selling for $349.

Meanwhile, seemingly in passing, Krzanich talked about supporting, on a single chipset, either Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows or Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. Intel demonstrated the technology on a laptop during the keynote, according to The Verge.

For more:
- see this NYT article
- see this The Next Web article
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Re/code article
- see this The Verge article

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