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Intel Shows Its Sporty Side at CES, but Can It Really Outrun the Competition?

The company announces deals with ESPN, New Balance and Red Bull.

Asa Mathat

After largely missing out on the smartphone revolution, Intel is trying to get in shape so it doesn’t miss out on the wearable trend.

At CES this year, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is putting a particular emphasis on sports. During his keynote he is set to announce deals that will see Intel’s chips put inside snowboards at ESPN’s X Games and a partnership with New Balance to work together on an Android Wear fitness watch. The watch, due out by next holiday season, won’t require a smartphone for connectivity, New Balance said.

Krzanich, himself a runner, has shown an affinity for this area, acquiring fitness band maker Basis, whose technology Intel is using in some of its partner products along with creating new Basis-branded products. Other deals being touted Tuesday include a new partnership with Red Bull Media as well as the first products from a previously announced deal with Oakley.

Intel, of course, is far from alone in partnering with consumer brands looking to break into tech gear. HTC tied up with Under Armour a year ago and on Monday the two introduced UA HealthBox, a $400 kit that includes a fitness band, chest-worn heart monitor and a connected scale. Then there are the pioneers of the wearable space, companies like Jawbone and Fitbit, which introduced a new health smartwatch of its own Tuesday.

Intel VP Steven Holmes said in an interview that Intel is ready for all comers.

There is a lot of competition, Holmes agreed, but also a lot of demand. “There are a lot of sports and fitness companies that recognize the value that technology can bring, particularly to an athlete.”

The market is indeed growing. According to eMarketer, more than a third of adults will be using at least one wearable technology on a monthly basis by 2019, up from 10 percent in 2014.

But each of those consumers has, at most, two wrists, meaning the competition for wrist-worn devices is likely to see a lot fewer winners than also-rans.

This article originally appeared on

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