This week during Bloomberg's Next Big Thing Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner confirmed that the chip giant is indeed experimenting with different form factors in the lab, one of which is a watch-like device. The news shouldn't be surprising given that Google, Apple, Samsung and others are currently churning out their own smartwatch products to be released in the near future.
"Actually, we’re looking at novel display devices. The watch is kind of — if you want to put the time on it, that’s fine," he said. “But if you’re talking about texting today, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just look at your wrist?"
Based on that comment, Intel's "novel display devices" may be focused on communication with an optional time setting. The company may even be shooting for a wrist-bound wearable device powered by an Atom SoC that will mainly communicate with a smartphone for information. It may also incorporate "contextually aware computing", a technology that can tell when you want to use it, and even use environmental clues to control its functions.
However the comment doesn't reveal if Intel's smartwatch plans are related to Apple's own solution. Previous rumors indicated that Apple's smartwatch project included a collaboration with Intel although that would seemingly go against the iOS grain (which runs on ARM-based in-house chips from Apple). Either way, it looks as if Intel plans to jump on the hot new smartwatch bandwagon like most of its partners/competitors.
The smartwatch craze reportedly kicked off last year after Pebble Technology raised over $10.2 million on Kickstarter thanks to 68,929 backers. The company made 85,000 units and quickly sold out, showing that consumers were hungry for a smartphone-like e-paper device on their wrist. It connected to an Android phone or an iPhone via Bluetooth, and not only showed the time but calendar data, social media updates, call data and more.