Intel Abandons Smart Glasses Project Two Months After Its Announcement

Intel stopped investment in its wearables sector, which included a promising smart glasses project.
Shelby Rogers

Intel recently announced it's abandoning its smart glasses project called Vaunt. 

The hardware manufacturer did not give much explanation beyond a lack of investment due to "market dynamics." Not only is Intel killing off the once-promising project, the company will also disband the group responsible for the wearable devices. This could lead to layoffs of any of the 200 New Devices Group employees currently put under the project, according to the media outlet The Information

The tech company debuted the glasses and its plan for using them in Feburary. Originally, reviews seemed relatively positive, despite the bad taste Google Glass had left in the public consciousness. The sleek and lightweight glasses avoided the bulkiness of the doomed Google Glass by cramming a retinal laser projector. There was also no camera on the Vaunt's more traditional-looking frame. The projector beamed a red 400 x 150 pixel image onto the lower right corner of a wearer's visual field. There was no need for an awkward display medium. 

"Intel is continuously working on new technologies and experiences," an Intel spokesperson told CNBC in an email. "Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market. The Superlight project is a great example where Intel developed truly differentiated, consumer augmented reality glasses. We are going to take a disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don't support further investment."

The New Devices Group was originally formed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in 2013. After a corporate reorganization two years later, the New Devices Group joined the New Technology Group. Since that time, Intel acquired several wearable startups, including two wearable companies that specialize in technology for athletes. 

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No one knows just yet if or how Intel's exit from smart glasses will affect other companies looking to build the popular wearables. Amazon and Apple both seem to be committed to their own respective smart glasses or related projects. 


Financial Times reported that Amazon could be putting their Alexa assistants in a smart glass system that could access Alexa without opening a secondary application. The shopping and tech behemoth has yet to confirm or deny those rumors. However, the company did acquire Google Glass founder Babak Parviz in 2014. 

Apple, on the other hand, acquired SensoMotoric Instruments -- a company that specializes in eye-tracking glasses and AR/VR platforms. While Apple has yet to specify how it would use buying the German company, it could lead to software that might be implemented into wearables down the road. 

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