Intel has confirmed that it plans to close the New Devices Group (NDG) and suspend the development of the Vaunt smart glass project that it revealed earlier this year. The story was reported this afternoon by The Information which also notes that the closure will likely result in "some layoffs" of the team that were supposedly about 200 people.
Here is Intel's statement :
Intel is continually working 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 truly differentiated augmented reality lenses for the consumer. 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 always clear how precisely Intel was trying to bring the Vaunt glasses to market, although sources indicated that Intel wanted to find a partner with retail experience to partner with. Jerry Bautista, the leader of Vaunt, told me in December that Intel was "working with the main providers of ecosystem hardware, whether frames or lenses and things like that, because we believe there is a full channel for people who wear glasses. 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 probably has other concerns such as current concerns about Specter and Apple's rumored plans to get rid of their 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.