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Google Glass Rival Recon Gets Cash from Intel

Google Glass Rival Recon Gets Cash from Intel
By Nancy Owano

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Are we looking at a heads-up war? With the infusion of cash from Intel Capital, Recon is continuing to move onwards and upwards in its wearable display march. And Google Glass recently announced that it will kick off a promotional tour starting in Durham, N.C., on October 5 and then travel to other cities.
 



Intel Capital on Thursday made a "significant" investment in Canadian wearables technology company Recon Instruments, the Vancouver, BC makers of consumer heads-up display products for sports. Intel Capital, Intel's investment arm, makes equity investments in innovative technology startups and companies.

"Our products are engineered to deliver instant information, direct-to-eye and without distraction in the most demanding environments on Earth," said Dan Eisenhardt, Recon CEO. "Intel Capital shares our vision for wearable technology, which enhances users' performance and experience across a broad range of sports and outdoor activities."

Founded in 2008, Recon Instruments lays claim to the "world's first consumer Heads-up Displays (HUD) for sports," selling over 50,000 units of its wearables, and making partnerships with known eyewear brands.

The cash figure was not disclosed but Recon said Thursday that Intel Capital had made a "significant" investment. Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel, said Intel recognized Recon Instruments' "compelling technology" and that wearables is "an area of significant focus for Intel Capital."

The Recon investment move, added Bell, is a part of Intel's approach to innovate in this "emerging space." The announcement has all the signs that Intel is eager to be an active partner rather than passive backer. The release noted that Recon Instruments "will also benefit from Intel Capital's expertise in manufacturing, operations and technology."

Staking Claim in Wearables

Intel is moving most assuredly in the wearables space. The Recon Instruments move follows an investment in wearable computing device maker Thalmic Labs in June.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Thalmic Labs has an edge as a maker of wearable gesture control device MYO. The company saw a financing round by Spark Capital and Intel Capital. As part of the Intel Capital investment, Thalmic Labs has similarly gained access to Intel's manufacturing and technology expertise for products.

Intel's wearables beat went on: Intel made use of its Intel Developer Forum event earlier this month with CEO Brian Krzanich's announcement of the tiny chip Quark, aimed at wearable gadgets.

Are we looking at a heads-up war? As Recon continues onwards and upwards in its wearable display march, Google Glass recently announced that it will kick off a promotional tour starting in Durham, N.C., on October 5 and will then travel on to other cities.

Google Glass Beats Drum

"We're going to start bringing Glass to cities across the US so you can give it a spin. You'll be able to try on Glass, ask questions and chat with the Glass team in person," said Google.

Recon Jet, meanwhile, is the product in current focus at Recon Instruments, shipping online in March next year. The feature-packed product is designed to be a powerful standalone microcomputer with sensors and networking capabilities similar to what a consumer would see in a tablet or smartphone. Details include 1 GHz dual core processor, dedicated graphics, Wi-Fi, ANT+, Bluetooth, GPS, HD camera, and sensors.
 

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