Basis may make one of the world's most advanced activity-tracking wristbands, but it's far from invincible in an immature wearables space that hasn't yet been validated by mainstream consumers. According to a Sunday TechCrunch report based on anonymous sourcing, the San Francisco-based Basis is in acquisition talks with "everyone," and if it can't find a buyer, it will have to resort to another round of venture capital funding to support R&D.
So who's "everyone"? TechCrunch's sources say that over the last few weeks, Basis has spoken with Google and Apple, and "possibly" even Samsung and Microsoft. Yeah, that's pretty much everyone. Perhaps Amazon's phone was busy.
As 2014 continues, expect to see more reports of wearables-related acquisitions. The relatively small companies that currently make the technology (Basis, Fitbit and Pebble, among others) are searching for customers and a path to immortality. Meanwhile, the mega-companies that now want to join the wearables revolution have the near-bottomless pools of capital to jumpstart their efforts with buyouts.
It's really the same dynamic that compelled Facebook to buy Snapchat: Facebook wanted an instant position in a social media space it didn't yet own. And, of course, Google was successful in buying Nest to establish a position in the connected home market.
Among activity-tracking wristband manufacturers, Basis is unique for recording more than just simple step and sleep data. The Basis B1 band uses sensors that measure heart rate, skin temperature and perspiration to more accurately calculate calorie burn and sleep patterns. In fact, the Basis technology stands alone in its ability to record REM sleep cycles.
In recent weeks there have been reports saying Apple is interested in moving into wearable tech that can do everything from monitor blood pressure to predict heart attacks, so purchasing a company like Basis, with ready-made sensor tech, could be a logical fit. The best thing about Basis' hardware is what it can do. But the wristbands are thick and chunky, and boast woefully dim screens. An Apple makeover could fix a lot of problems.