Intel has confirmed that it plans to close the New Devices Group (NDG) and suspend the development of the Vaunt smart glasses project that was revealed earlier this year. The information was reported for the first time tonight by The Information, which also notes that the closure will likely result in "some layoffs" from the team that was supposedly about 200 people.
Here is Intel's statement:
Intel continually works on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these become a product that we choose to bring to the market. The Superlight project [the codename for Vaunt] is a great example in which Intel developed augmented reality glasses really differentiated for consumers. We will adopt a disciplined approach as we continue to invent and explore new technologies, which will sometimes require difficult decisions when market dynamics do not support new investments.
It was not clear to what extent Intel intended to bring the Vaunt glasses to the market, although sources indicated that Intel wanted to find a retail partner to partner with. Jerry Bautista, the leader of Vaunt, told me in December that Intel was "working with the main suppliers of ecosystem hardware, whether frames or lenses and things like that, because we believe there is a complete channel for people who wear lenses. that are already there. "
Intel has had difficulty creating consumer products directly. He has had alliances with companies such as Oakley and Tag Heuer in the space of wearables, but none found massive success in the market. If the company could not successfully find a similar partner to handle Vaunt, it's not exactly a surprise that he chose not to try to bring them to the market directly. That's not Intel's game, and general manager Brian Krzanich is likely to have other concerns, such as continuing concerns about Specter and Apple's rumored plans to get rid of its chips.
Still, it is disappointing to think that Vaunt will not have the opportunity to finish the development. After trying the basic prototype, I can say that having a display screen that is only there when you want to see it is a really fascinating technology. It was a version of augmented reality that did not try to provide magical 3D objects, but basic contextual information. Maybe another company finds a way to make it happen. Until then, here is our first (and, apparently, last) look at the lenses.