Intel halts sales of Basis Peak wearable due to overheating concerns

By Jonah Comstock
04:12 pm
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Basis Science, the high-end fitness wearable company that was acquired by Intel in March 2014, has halted sales of its newest device, the Basis Peak, because of concerns about overheating. The company won't sell any more devices -- and has requested that its users not wear those they currently own -- until it completes a software update that will shut down the device when it begins to overheat.

"A small number of people have reported that their Basis Peak watches overheated, and in some cases caused discomfort, blistering or burns on their wrist under the watch body," Josh Walden, SVP and General Manager of the Intel New Technology Group wrote in an email to users and in a message on Basis's website on June 13th. "At this time, the known reported cases involve approximately 0.2 percent of the watches sold to date. However, that is no comfort if you are one of the people affected."

In the email, the company said it was halting sales, encouraging retailers to do the same, and working on a software update. They also offered a full refund to any customer for any reason. The company admitted that overheating complaints went back to 2014 and apologized for not taking action sooner, and shared that there had also been complaints about overheating devices melting their charging cradles.

Basis Peak launched in late 2014, and Intel hasn't shown any signs of planning additional direct-to-consumer devices. Instead, updates to Peak have been delivered in the form of firmware updates and app updates that have been added periodically over the last few years, including an update in May 2015 that added integration with Apple HealthKit and Google Fit.

Competitors Fitbit and Jawbone have both had similar woes in the past. Jawbone had offered a voluntary refund for return of its original UP band because it shut down unexpectedly, and Fitbit issued a "voluntary recall" of the Fitbit Force after users complained of skin rashes.

Yesterday, the company sent a follow-up email and posted an update to its website.

"We have been working hard to develop a solution that offers the necessary protection while ensuring the watch is reliably useable in everyday situations that you are likely to encounter. It’s important to us to get this right, and we’re not yet ready to distribute a software update," the post says. "We know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches, but your safety is our top priority. We don’t want to offer a product that we can’t stand behind with complete confidence, and that doesn’t offer a fundamentally good experience. We hope to have more news for you soon."

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