Basis watches are being recalled, and Intel is shutting down the Basis Web site, cloud and app that stored all of its wearers’ health data. What happened to my favorite smart watch wearable (even more than Apple Watch running Watch OS 1 and 2!)?
Basis started a few years ago as an optimistic startup to make the very best wearable for collecting and understanding health data there was. One of its investors, told me that they had the single best heart rate on wrist of anything out there. He wasn’t wrong.
The data on the site was comprehensive, and made it easy to draw conclusions about your activity. I could tell at a glance how many hours I had kept my heart rate above a certain beats per minute number. I still can’t do that on other health clouds. Writers at TechCrunch and The Verge liked it, too.
Basis encouraged you to do more, by unlocking new activities and exercises when you’d done enough of an existing one. The other health clouds with badges and awards just unlock pretty pictures to mark progress. Thanks, un-named health app, I don’t really need to care if I’ve walked as much the circumference of Lake Titicaca. It’s not that great of an award and doesn’t really help me do anything new I couldn’t do the day before.
I loved mine so much, I bought a milanese mesh bracelet and modified it to fit the weird 23mm lugs of the Basis Peak. I bought Basis Peak units for friends just to get them into it. Double tapping to dismiss all phone notifications was way easier than pruning them in many of the other smart watches. This was one of the great smart watches.
The problems started after Intel bought them a couple of years ago. It seemed like all development slowed to a halt after the Basis Peak came out. Then, this summer, they issued an email stating that some units were overheating, and they wanted everyone to stop wearing them until a firmware update to fix it was issued. That update never came.
Then, on August 4, Basis issued a safety recall, stating,
“On June 13 we shared reports of overheating in Basis Peak watches, and we recommended that you stop wearing your Basis Peak watch right away. 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. As a result, we are asking that you return your Basis Peak watch and authorized accessories for a full refund at your earliest convenience. This was a tough decision, but your safety is our top priority.
We are issuing this safety recall of the Basis Peak watch because the watch can overheat, which could result in burns or blisters on the skin surface. It is important that you stop using your watch immediately and return it. Although we are stopping support for Basis Peak immediately, you can access your data until December 31, 2016. After that date, the Basis Peak services will be turned off. Once we shut down the services, your watch will no longer be able to sync, which will cause it to stop working.
On behalf of the Basis Science team, I want to personally apologize for this situation. We know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches and have made them part of your daily lives, and we are very sorry for the disruption this will cause you.”
I never encountered the issue, and I’m sad that they weren’t able to overcome it. I can’t think of another tracking device that does as well for as many different activities, and makes it easy to understand how your body reacted during those activities. So now, I’ll return the devices I have left, and wait for another manufacturer to get as far down the road as Basis were.
To return your Basis for refund, visit https://support.mybasis.com. Customers can also call the following numbers (at the prompt, callers in Europe should choose option 1, “technical support”):
United States and Canada: 1 (844) 622-7472 (7AM-5PM PST)
France: 01-41-91-85-29 (8:30AM-4PM UTC)
Germany: 069-9509-6099 (8:30AM-4PM UTC)
Italy: 02-696-33276 (8:30AM-4PM UTC)
Spain: 91-377-8166 (8:30AM-4PM UTC)
United Kingdom: 01793-404925 (8:30AM-4PM UTC)
Switzerland: Use the France, Germany or Italy number based on language preference.
Basis will send you a preprinted shipping label. Please return your watch with the charging cradle and other authorized accessories. If you have already received a label but not yet returned your watch, Basis urges you to do so as soon as possible.
The most current information and answers to frequently asked questions on this safety recall will be at http://www.mybasis.com/safety.
“Thank you for your patience and support while we worked to address this issue. We regret that we don’t have a better outcome.
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Intel New Technology Group”
Me too, Josh.