Intel and Opening Ceremony's MICA smart bracelet seeks to capitalize on a demographic that has generally been ignored in the wave of wearables: women who like fashionable fitness devices.
Slimming down the faces of smart watches robs them of utility and is likely one big reason wearables have failed to accommodate those with smaller wrists, women in particular. Intel and Opening Ceremony's solution is to preserve the utility of a wrist-worn computer inside an elegant band.
The $495 MICA seeks to marry Opening Ceremony's design experience and Intel's ingenuity into a product that appeals to women. MICA, short for My Intelligent Communication Accessory, lets wearers stay connected via SMS messages, meeting alerts, and general notifications without the need to pair with a smartphone.
"Today's modern woman maintains selectivity and exclusivity when choosing accessories, and MICA embodies a beautifully unique statement piece," says Humberto Leon, co-founder and creative director of Opening Ceremony.
On the outside, the smart bracelet is finished with 18k gold and its touch-sensitive display is protected by curved sapphire glass.
Its coat of gold peaks out around the smart bracelet's face from underneath black watersnake skin, Chinese pearls, and Madagascan lapis stone in one version. The alternative version features white watersnake skin, South African tiger's eye and Russian obsidian.
Inside its collection of exquisite materials, the MICA's software serves up notifications from contacts marked "important" in Gmail. Text alerts can be filtered similarly. The smart bracelet also delivers notifications from Facebook and Google Calendar.
Using tech conceived by Intel and TomTom, MICA can also alert users when it's the best time to leave a location. The smart bracelet can calculate the time it will take to arrive at a certain location and then relay the "Time to Go" alert.
MICA is available through AT&T with a two-year service agreement, though it's unclear if the wireless carrier will subsidize the cost of the smart bracelet for those who sign a contract. Right now, the smart bracelet is only available in the U.S. It is expected to hold a charge for two days and uses micro-USB charging. It will be available this December.
"MICA is unlike any other product we've connected before and it stands alone in terms of design and functionality," says Chris Penrose, senior vice president of AT&T's emerging device division. "This is a product that puts fashion first while allowing users to remain connected."
While Intel and Open Ceremony look to attract more women to the wearable tech revolution, HP recently partnered up with men's fashion designer Michael Bastian on a smart watch designed specifically for men.
Motorola recently announced it is releasing thinner bands, in an effort to woo women, but HP's rugged-faced Chronowing, with its sleek and contemporary build, offers no apologies in attempting to reach its core demographic.