Intel has issued a safety recall for its Basis-brand fitness watches, after admitting that the devices could cause blistering or burns.
In a move that leaves its wearable strategy up in the air, the chip maker has urged customers to return the watches immediately after conceding they are vulnerable to overheating. It has promised to give users a full refund for the watches.
Although Intel made the recall voluntarily, it is a major setback for the PC firm’s plans to diversify into the watch sector after purchasing Basis two years ago.
The Basis Peak watch at the heart of the recall is the first Basis smart watch model produced after Intel acquired the company. The unit can monitor heart-rate, physical movement and perspiration among other things.
However, the watch is prone to overheating, which Intel says could lead to burns or blisters on the wearer’s skin.
The issue initially came to light in June when Intel recommended consumers stop wearing the devices as a precautionary measure. But this week’s recall suggests it has not been able to fix the matter, especially as it confirmed it would also shut down the accompanying Basis Peak online services by the end of the year.
“We had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren’t able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the user experience,” Intel said in a statement to customers. “As a result, we are asking that you return your Basis Peak watch and authorised accessories for a full refund at your earliest convenience. This was a tough decision, but your safety is our top priority.”
The company said that the known reported cases of skin burns or blistering from the watches involved 0.2% of the watches sold up to the start of June.