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Not All of the Wearables Intel Showed at CES Had Intel Inside

A few CES gadgets were cooked up in Intel's labs, but powered by other's technology.

A big part of Intel’s pitch at CES was that its signature x86 processors could scale from their home turf of PCs all the way down to the smallest of devices.

“Wearables is wide open,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview ahead of his appearance at the Vegas consumer electronics show. “What you will see at CES is that we are actually going to bring some very innovative wearables to the show that are developed and manufactured here.”

And while Intel designed all of the products it showed off on stage, it turns out not all of them used Intel’s x86 chip architecture. At least one, a tech demonstration of a smart watch, featured a design with a core based on processor technology from ARM Holdings. (Intel does have a license to manufacture ARM processors, should it choose to.)

The small Edison computer on a postage-stamp size package does indeed use Intel’s x86-based Quark processor, manufactured on its next-generation 22-nanometer technology.

However, as earlier reported by, that was not the case with two other products–a voice assistant-equipped earpiece and a pair of health-monitoring earbuds.

In the case of the earpiece, Intel says that it developed the voice-controlled assistant and did note in a fact sheet that the speech recognition technology was powered by Sensory Inc. That device is powered by a processor from Avnera. The fitness earbuds contain a third-party micro-controller, while the wireless charging bowl has various components but no central processor.

Intel says its point was to show what is and will soon be possible and was not focused on whose chip technology was inside. Intel says it did create the products and expects its chips to power similar devices in the future.

“The intent is to transition, where we haven’t, to Intel architecture,” an Intel representative told Re/code on Friday.

Depending on when they ship, though, the first generation of some products based on the Intel reference designs may or may not have Intel’s in-house processor technology.

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