Intel continues its push into the wearables space with the MICA, described by the company as “a feminine fashion accessory with communications capabilities,” which was officially introduced on September 7 at the Opening Ceremony Spring/Summer 2015 fashion show in New York City. For the sake of of simplicity, let’s call it a smart bracelet.
Updated on 11-18-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added in technical specifications, a video, and additional launch details for the MICA.
Conceived and designed in collaboration with New York City fashion house Opening Ceremony, MICA — which stands for “My Intelligent Communication Accessory” — features a 1.6-inch, 256 × 160 OLED curved sapphire glass touchscreen, and will provide wearers with information such as messages, reminders and alerts. However, it doesn’t need to connect to a smartphone, thanks to its own 3G radio. It comes with two years of 3G AT&T service included, and has its own phone number, which goes some way to justifying the $495 price tag.
Notifications will come through from Facebook, Gmail, calendars, and it’ll display SMS messages. The MICA — pronounced Meeka, according to Intel — can be setup with VIP lists, prioritizing certain people or particular messages. Wearers can send pre-generated replies, or use the built-in GPS. Intel has signed a deal with Yelp and TomTom to deliver location based alerts. The battery is expected to last two days before needing a recharge.
Design-wise, the smart bracelet comprises “semi-precious gems and watersnake skin,” and will launch with two designs. The first will feature black watersnake skin, pearls from China, and lapis stones from Madagascar, while the second incorporates white watersnake skin, a tiger’s eye gemstone from South Africa, and obsidian (volcanic glass) from Russia.
While Intel made a name for itself in the PC chip business, it was slow to respond when the smartphone market took off. Eager to avoid repeating its mistake, the company is attempting to establish itself early on in the fast-expanding wearables space.
Intel has already partnered with 50 Cent’s headphone company SMS Audio to launch the SMS Audio BioSport Headphones, which can monitor your heart rate, sync with fitness app RunKeeper, and keep you motivated throughout your workout.
While smartwatches (and Glass) gain most attention in the wearables market, an increasing number of tech companies are beginning to explore the potential of smart jewelry. Besides Intel’s smart bracelet, recent additions to the market from other firms include smart pendants, earrings, brooches, and even rings.
Article originally published on 09-03-2014