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Consequences of Intel Abandoning Vaunt Smart Glasses Project

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May. 14 2018, Published 2:14 p.m. ET

Intel ceasing work on Vaunt

Intel (INTC) is shutting down its New Devices Group, consequently ceasing work on the Vaunt smart glasses project. It unveiled Vaunt earlier this year, but the device will now not ship to consumers as expected.

Although Intel chips power many computers, Intel has struggled to build consumer products directly, which has sometimes meant forgoing big revenue opportunities. By abandoning Vaunt, for instance, Intel will be forgoing more than $50 billion of revenue opportunity in the wearable devices market.

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Apple topped the wearable vendor chart in 2017

According to MarketsandMarkets, the worldwide sale of wearable devices such as smartwatches and smart glasses will generate $51.6 billion in annual revenues by 2022. The worldwide sale of wearable devices generated $15.7 billion of revenue in 2015.

Apple was the world’s top wearable vendor last year, according to IDC (International Data Corporation), thanks to the popularity of its cellular-enabled Apple Watch 3. Apple commanded 15.3% of the global wearables market in 2017 compared to Xiaomi’s 13.6% and Fitbit’s (FIT) 13.3%. Garmin (GRMN) commanded 5.4% of the wearables market in 2017, while Fossil (FOSL) had a 4.3% share of the market. Samsung (SSNLF) was subdued and never appeared among the world’s top five wearables vendors last year.

Freeing up resources

Viewed differently, though, abandoning the Vaunt smart glasses project could actually enable Intel to free up resources to invest in its core operations such as creating processor chips for computers. Intel invested $3.3 billion in product development in 1Q18.

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