The biggest name in the technology Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and one of the finest players of the consumer lifestyle and the fashion industry Fossil Group has announced a partnership to design, develop and push the wearables to the fashion lovers. In other words, Intel wants to create luxury wearable computing devices such as smartwatches, bracelets, headphones etc. (with designs in mind) and sell it to the luxury goods consumers for better margin, period.
This week, Intel has also unveiled its first ever luxury smart bracelet MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) with a curved, hardcore sapphire touchscreen display. Brace yourselves, as Intel will not only push these MICA devices to the fashion world, but also planned to bring more smart-gadgets in the coming days.
Mike Bell, Vice President of Intel and General Manager of the New Devices Group, said in a statement:
“The combination of Intel’s technology and Fossil Group’s ability to design innovative fashion accessories and to create, market and distribute globally is why we are confident about this initiative. We are focused on identifying trends and emerging uses of technology and accelerating wearable technology innovation worldwide.”
The world’s largest chip manufacturer said that the company has plans to integrate its technology into Fossil’s design skills to develop new similar gadgets, hence to create a new segment of wearables. Fossil Group has also partnered with Intel’s global investment wing ‘Intel Capital’ to identify investments and evaluate trends in smart gadgets. As of now, Intel’s investment wing has already invested on wearable techs like Basis (fitness-band maker, acquired by Intel in March 2014) and Thalmic Labs, a startup specialized in the armbands that controls computers through hand gestures.
Earlier this week, Intel announced MICA by partnering with the popular fashion house Opening Ceremony and has plans to sell it at the luxury retailer Barneys New York across the United States. Intel Corp’s and Fossil Group’s joint venture have planned for the series of announcements in the coming weeks related to the luxury wearables – one of them might be about partnering for MICA devices as well.
So, which of these companies will gain more? Both, obviously! With belts, handbags, watches and other fashion accessories in its catalog, wearable smartwatches and smart bracelets will be added advantage, while Intel will get a luxury market for its wearable technology in return. There is also a possibility, where Fossil might gain experience from Intel’s technology expertise to jump into the segment independently to compete with the big tech firms like Motorola, Samsung, LG, Asus and Sony. Apple’s wearable is coming soon – not to worry.
Currently, Fossil has partnered with some watchmakers including Timex, which already announced their smartwatch ‘IRONMAN ONE GPS+’ that offers standalone wireless connectivity without a smartphone. Hence, Fossil can keep up with its current partnership in the new growing segment. On the other hand, Intel will be gaining already established fashion brand with its strong retail presence and distribution networks in the US markets, hence to concentrate more on its technology research and developments.
Kosta Kartsotis, Chief Executive Officer of Fossil Group, stated:
“We are very excited about collaborating with Intel and working to develop the next innovation in the emerging wearable technology space. Combining our fashion lifestyle brands with Intel’s expertise in technology, hardware and innovation will position us to be a leader in this segment.”
Moreover, falling PC-market and failing of its much awaited Internet TV business (ultimately selling it to Verizon) made Intel to focus more on the wearables’ market. Intel cited MarketsandMarkets’ research report of 2013, which suggests that the wearable market to grow beyond $8 billion revenue in next 5 years. According to the report, the wearable market had only $2.5 billion in revenue in 2012.
Not to forget, in August 2014, Intel announced the partnership with 50 Cent’s SMS Audio and unveiled a new heart-rate tracking headphone as well.
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