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Intel acquires smart sunglass maker Recon

Published June 17, 2015

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Intel Corp. has acquired Recon Instruments, the maker of the Recon Jet smart sport sunglass. California-based Intel had previously invested at least $4 million in Recon, which began shipping the glasses in April. The company said the acquisition gives it a leg up in the hot fitness wearables market and helps it expand into the other head-mounted display products and technologies.

The Silicon Valley giant announced the purchase Wednesday morning in a blog post written by Josh Walden, a senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group. It did not reveal the purchase price but said the deal was completed Tuesday.

"This acquisition gives Intel a talented, experienced wearable computing team that will help us expand the market for head mounted display products and technologies," Walden said in the blog.

Intel is looking beyond the sports market for the Recon technology. It said the Recon team will work with Intel's New Devices Group "to develop smart device platforms for a broader set of customers and market segments."

Recon began accepting preorders for its glasses in the summer of 2013. In September that year, Intel announced it had invested $4 million in the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company. Motorola Solutions, an investment wing of the Motorola brand, also invested a reported $7 million in Recon in 2014, and venture capitalists invested $10 million in Series A funding in the company in 2012.

Recon CEO Dan Eisenhardt said the acquisition will "lead to amazing things," and called Intel "an ideal partner."

He said Intel's resources will allow Recon to grow and to establish a strong app market for the glasses.

"This acquisition has placed Recon in a uniquely advantageous position," Eisenhardt said in a blog post Wednesday. "Going forward, we’ll continue leading the smart eyewear category for sports, and we’ll be able to bring our technology and innovation to completely new markets and use cases where activity-specific information, delivered instantly, can change the game. The team and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic."

Intel has made several recent moves as it positions itself for the wearables and heads-up display market. It has announced plans for the Intel Curie module1, a tiny system-on-chip for wearable devices; unveiled a multiyear R&D collaboration with Luxottica Group S.p.A  and its Oakley brand to bring smart technology to premium, luxury and sports eyewear; and announced a partnership with Tag Heuer and Google to launch a Swiss smartwatch powered by Intel technology and Android Wear.

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