back to article Intel's smartwatches are so hot right now – too hot: Basis Peak recalled for skin burns, blistering

Intel has recalled every single one of its Basis Peak smartwatches – as well as urging people to stop using them – because they can become dangerously hot. Chipzilla has told everyone who bought a Peak to send back the watch along with any and all accessories for a full refund. Keeping it is not an option: by the end of the …

It's sad to see a watch I never knew existed suddenly become more non-existant.

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CPU and power consumption?

What on earth was in it?

The 1998 486 based Nokia communicator N9110 didn't get too hot. Though after that they used ARM.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: CPU and power consumption?

Check it out - I added it to the story. Couple of ARM Cortex-Ms.

C.

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Re: CPU and power consumption?

That won't stop me making Netburst jokes.

Not that I can think of a good one right now.

Damn.

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Re: CPU and power consumption?

Apparently one Coretx-M0...must be a varient part.

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Re: CPU and power consumption? @ diodesign

Bizarre

That's amazing they can make it run too hot. After all most gadgets the CPU/GPU consumption is related to screen size, decoding (i.e. H264 video) and refresh rate. A watch screen should use less power than the the radio, unless it's madly bright.

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Dammed customers

Always complaining - first they want a smart watch that can last more than two days without recharging, then they start complaining that escaping heat from the reactor and steam turbine is burning their wrist - there's just no helping some people.

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Anonymous Coward

So hot right now

El reg totally missed an opportunity to use a picture of Mugatu.

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Re: So hot right now

Hehe!

Recently rewatching Zoolander, what stood out was the film's parody of fashionistas' tiny mobile phones. Yep, having a tiny mobile used to be cool!

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Better install

a CPU cooler with fan in it.

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possibly the battery might have a part to play in the overheating? Pure conjecture, nothing more.

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I protest

Bored of?

According to the Oxford Dictionary:

"Nevertheless, some people dislike it and it’s not fully accepted in standard English. It’s best to avoid using it in formal writing."

Can we avoid it in future, or am I just being a Grammar Nazi?

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Re: I protest

I don't even think you're being pedantic. (Don't get me started on the sheer ugliness of 'absent' being used as a preposition.)

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"by the end of the year, Intel will switch off its Peak cloud services, which the devices synchronize to, rendering the wrist-puters useless."

Why would anyone buy hardware or software that can be shutdown at the whim of a cloud provider?

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Perhaps it seemed useful/convenient/cool at the time of purchase. People often make decisions on that basis and don't consider what might happen in the future.

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In this case Intel is offering a full original retail purchase-price refund, even if you bought directly from them while the thing was discounted. So I guess the people who bought this device did pretty well: a year or two of using the product for free, or better.

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Why would anyone buy hardware or software that can be shutdown at the whim of a cloud provider?

Steady on old chap; are you calling the myriad delights of, say, the IoT or Smart Metering into question?

What are you; some sort of Common Sense Nazi?

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Happy

What are you; some sort of Common Sense Nazi?

Brilliant expression Sir. Have some extra cream in your coffee.

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Re: What are you; some sort of Common Sense Nazi?

>Why would anyone buy hardware or software that can be shutdown at the whim of a cloud provider?

>>Steady on old chap; are you calling the myriad delights of, say, the IoT or Smart Metering into question?

Why the hell are all these purveyors of gizmos (watches, thermostats, security cameras, MiFi cards etc) sending stuff to the cloud? Surely there is market opportunity for a domestic device - a low-power, always on server the user keeps at home - and supporting platform, that individual users can send the data their gadgets generate to? The vendors individual gadgets can write for this platform, and if the user desires they can mirror it on a cloud-based docker, one which only they control.

There doesn't seem to be any consumer need for their unencypted data to spaffed around tinternet. Or have I missed a few things?

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Re: What are you; some sort of Common Sense Nazi?

Why the hell are all these purveyors of gizmos (watches, thermostats, security cameras, MiFi cards etc) sending stuff to the cloud?.. ...have I missed a few things?

The cloud is cool, hip, and groovy. I will resist putting "Man" at the end of that.

In reality using the cloud is no different from outsourcing other business services, which is not to say that I like the idea.

To answer your final question... you have missed the fact that our lizard masters don't want us to have control of our own data; they want it for their own purposes whether you like it or not.

Now where's my tinfoil hat?

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Latest ad campaign/bathroom graffiti?

"For a hot time you won't forget, call Intel!"

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Re: Latest ad campaign/bathroom graffiti?

Will there be some wrist action involved?

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I'm still using my Basis B1

It was the first to do continuous heart rate measurement, and therefore was reasonably popular amongst a certain niche. The follow-up Peak inexplicably uses a completely different app that syncs to completely different services but I guess it's a safe bet that everything is being switched off together. So that's fairly sad, but at least I got three years or so. Better than most cloudy devices, I'll bet.

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Re: I'm still using my Basis B1

Yes the B1 is also being recalled and the servers switched off. Which does make it look like a wind-down of Basis, rather than anything truly safety related.

Intel aren't having such a happy time at the moment and I'll bet this is some change to strategic direction to get out of anything direct to consumer and concentrate on their "core" business.

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not just hot stuff

but also another example of vendor lock in. At least Intel has been nice to refund customers (that will be cut off from the service Intel decided to discontinue). I'm not sure why anyone fell for that.

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Re: not just hot stuff

Intel have actually been fairly good about this — one of the notable things about the original Basis product was the company's refusal to support either Google Fit or Apple HealthKit despite both being launched during its period as the sole product, while the sync software was under active development.

They initially launched the Peak similarly declining to support export of data to either of those platforms or to any other, but relented. So if you have a Peak, you've quite possibly already exfiltrated your data, day by day, without much ado. You're not locked in.

The most offensive thing they've done is keep their server in the loop, so that you may get to keep your data but they get to keep it too. Which is slurping but not lock-in.

Given the full refunds, I think Intel has been fairly decent overall.

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Where are watch manufacturers in all of this?

I mean I have a Casio solar powered radio controlled watch. It clearly has a microprocessor running software inside because it actually has a software bug.

Why don't they simply add little "hook" functions where you can run code every time the display gets refreshed or when the timer goes off. It seems trivial to extend the hardware by adding a little 512 byte SRAM and the software with some hooks or a simple interpreter. Perhaps change the display to some alphanumeric one and there you go.

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You know what doesn't get too hot and combustable on my wrist?

A normal chronograph watch.

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Re: You know what doesn't get too hot and combustable on my wrist?

My experience of mechanical chronographs (as opposed to chronometer) is that they are expensive to service, prone to going wrong and not accurate - compared to an average quartz watch.

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Re: You know what doesn't get too hot and combustable on my wrist?

I used the chronograph as an example. I was going to suggest the Casio F-91 but I've never owned one so couldn't vouch for it's reliability and it's flamability (or lack of).

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Re: You know what doesn't get too hot and combustable on my wrist?

>I was going to suggest the Casio F-91 but I've never owned one so couldn't vouch for it's reliability and it's flamability

Nine out of ten terrorists wouldn't use anything else in their bombs!

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As a Basis Peak user for the last 18 months, my skin remains uncharred.

They (Basis / Intel) are also recalling the earlier B1 watch which seems to use different hardware.

To my suspicious mind, this smells like Intel using a minor issue as the excuse to close down the Basis business unit either due to lacklustre sales or because they want to release a competing product / sell the IP.

For the record the Peak is the most accurate wrist-based HR tracker I have used (and I've tried pretty much all of them). It was also able to track my sleep accurately. If anyone knows of an alternative device that fulfils my criteria I would love to hear about it:

- Looks like a watch rather than something from Blake's 7 and has interchangeable straps

- Waterproof enough to swim with

- Automatic activity tracking

- Accurate 24/hr HR tracking

- Accurate calorie calculation

- Tough metal / gorilla glass construction

- Notifications

- Silent alarm

- Music control

- Habit / goal tracking via app

- Display easily readable in direct sunlight

- 4-5+ day battery life

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Great Watch & Great Support

I thought it was an excellent watch and both the mobile app and firmware was constantly improving.

On any occasion where I needed support the support was excellent.

My watch did overheat leaving a somewhat nasty blister on my wrist but I was still hoping that they would come up with a fix so I could get a replacement.

I now have a Garmin watch - nice but mobile app is not great and the sync into Apple Health is appalling, managing to often delete its own data. Very much feels like vendor data lock-in with Garmin even though I checked that they supported Apple Health beforehand. Any issue is blamed on Apple, etc. and its about three years on since feature introduction and it still does not work properly!

It is a pity to see the demise of an really good and really well supported device when there are so many inferior devices and user experiences in this space.

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Re: Great Watch & Great Support

"Any issue is blamed on Apple, etc. and its about three years on since feature introduction and it still does not work properly!"

I don't suppose there exists such a thing as an open source smart watch? And by open source I mean "can build a new firmware for it" as opposed to the usual definition of "this generic crap is the stuff the GPL requires us to release".

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Lasers!

"Perhaps it was the laser-based heart-rate sensor causing all the trouble: Basis claimed the Peak took highly accurate readings, firing its optical sensor 32 times a second, so maybe that pushed the wrist-sized gizmo over the edge."

Seems unlikely, since it should be a very simple software fix to just reduce the rate it fires at until the overheating stops. Their inability to do anything about the problem without taking out multiple core functions suggests something rather more fundamental.

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Re: Lasers!

Something more fundamental - like a lack of motivation.

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Anonymous Coward

Just another defective Intel product

This is just an addition to the lengthy Intel defective product lists that dates back over 20+ years with flaming hot PIII-600 CPUs, defective mobos, defective chipsets and on and on.

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Are they telling the truth about it?

I have been trying to find pictures of people who have been burned by it and haven't been able to. Seeing how much people love to complain about everything and anything on the internet, especially on social networks. And given that Intel said that 0.2%, or 2 people per 1000, have been burned by the watch, surely many people would have posted pictures complaining about what the watch did to them. But I wasn't able to find a single one. I think they are lying about what the watch truly does to people. Sure, it may be burning people but perhaps it isn't their skin that it burns. It may be white blood cells; consequently leaving you more vulnerable to infections, or maybe it causes skin cancer or blood cancer (leukemia). I'm not lawyer and I don't know much about liability but I think that Intel may be offering a full refund on the watches only because it takes away their liability for health problems or injuries that have been caused by the watch. I am directing this comment towards the administrator/s of this website as I don't have the resources to look into it more in depth and there isn't much more I can do. Please look into it

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