Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) surprised many by investing $24.8 million in supplier of video eyewear and smart glasses product maker Vuzix. What surprised many was Intel’s investment on the nature of the business which is similar to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google Glasses.’
Google Inc has in the past decade set the pace for gadget-based inventions and ‘wearables’ ranging from smartwatches to Google Glasses. As per market trends, over 250,000 pieces of these glasses priced approximately at $1,500 have so far been sold. However, this is in contrast to earlier expectations that over 800,000 pieces would be sold.
Despite, the less than expected level of sales of the smart glasses, Intel Corporation entry into this segment, has definitely set the industry talking.
Vuzix: Smart glasses maker
In a press release, Vuzix noted that the company has received $24.8 million as investment from Intel Corp. for development of the next-gen wearable products. The current investment has fetched Intel Corporation’s ownership to 30% of Vuzix stock.
Vuzix was established in 1997, operated as a supplier of video eyewear gadgets. These were essentially developed for entertainment purposes and offered in the consumer and commercial market segments. Perhaps the interest in Vuzix by Intel Corp. goes beyond its selling smartglasses.
As per the press release, Vuzix currently has a patent pool of 39 patents and 10 additional patents pending. It also holds several IP licenses in video eyewear as well.
Analysts believe that the reason why Intel invested in Vuzix was because the chip-maker lost the opportunity of being first mover in the world of emerging technology platforms. Also, the company didn’t want to lose the opportunity in wearable space as it had had lost out in the mobile technology in the past decade.
Perhaps Intel Corp.’s interest in wearable technology stems from its experience with Google Glass processor. Further, latest tie-up with branded eyewear maker –Luxottica, also indicates Intel Corp’s new interests.