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Former HP Mobile Head Alberto Torres Takes Over as CEO of Wearables Startup Atheer Labs

The focus: A platform for workers whose hands aren't free to use a tablet.

Atheer Labs

Wearable technology startup Atheer Labs has tapped former HP executive Alberto Torres as its new CEO.

Torres, who was leading HP’s mobile efforts until two months ago, said he was attracted to Atheer by the opportunity to bring computing to groups of mobile workers who don’t have their hands free to use a tablet or phone.

“It’s a very fundamental transformation about the way people are able to interact with computers,” he told Re/code. Torres joined Atheer about a month ago but has been laying low while getting to know the company and its business. The company is set to announce his hiring later on Friday.

Atheer debuted at the D11 conference last year, showing an early version of its technology. The company had initially hoped to have a consumer product it had financed via Indiegogo but made the decision earlier this year to shift its focus to businesses.

Torres said that, as Google Glass has shown, the limitations of heads-up display technology make it not yet ready for the consumer market.

“It’s costly and it actually is bulky — for a period of time it is not going to be something that meets consumer needs,” Torres said.

By contrast, being able to add an hour of productivity to a worker doing oil and gas exploration can mean $10,000 in cost savings or added profit.

“We have to start in the places where the technology can really bring a strong [return on investment],” said Torres, who headed up MeeGo efforts at Nokia before joining HP.

Atheer has a development kit shipping to early partners, with a broader release planned for next year.

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