Tech companies have learned many lessons from Apple over the years, but the one that stands out this month is the "surprise factor." At the top of the month Amazon surprised the market with a new home device they call "Echo." Today it's Intel that's taking the market by surprise by introducing a new highly fashionable smart bracelet with a hard to love name of "My Intelligent Communications Accessory," though it will likely be better known as MICA. It will be sold in the US in the coming days ahead.
Opening Ceremony and Intel today took the wraps off the complete features of MICA, My Intelligent Communication Accessory, the smart and fashionable luxury accessory that truly redefines the concept of wearable technology. MICA is a beautiful and intelligent bracelet that provides today's highly connected woman with access to text messages, Yelp, Gmail notifications, Facebook events and Google Calendar through discreet notifications delivered directly to the wrist.
The feminine communications accessory will be available by early December in the United States and will retail exclusively at Opening Ceremony New York and Los Angeles, select Barneys New York locations, and online at Openingceremony.us and Barneys.com.
Ayse Ildeniz, vice president and general manager for business development and strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation stated that "Our pioneering collaboration with Opening Ceremony and the introduction of this category-defining smart jewelry piece advances wearable technology as a distinctively stylish accessory that places importance on both aesthetics and functionality. MICA captures Intel's philosophy that technology should enhance jewelry in order to make wearable technology truly 'wantable,' in addition to seamless and productive."
Humberto Leon, co-founder and creative director, Opening Ceremony stated that "Today's modern woman maintains selectivity and exclusivity when choosing accessories, and MICA embodies a beautifully unique statement piece. The wearable space is an exciting, rapidly expanding category, and it has been a thrill to be involved in the convergence of fashion and technology through this collaboration with Intel."
Daniella Vitale, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president, Barneys New York stated that "Mobile technology really guides everything we do. The issue for many consumers on wearable technology lies in the fact that the devices typically are not attractive and are often times cumbersome. Opening Ceremony founders Carol and Humberto, along with Intel, had the prescience to create something functional but also beautiful and chic. We are excited to be the first on something that mirrors the Barneys strategy of a beautiful, exclusive and unique product!"
MICA Product Highlights
Reflecting market research garnered from the Opening Ceremony community and influencers in the industry, Opening Ceremony and Intel developed the design, features and purpose of the MICA bracelet for the woman who is always on the go and enjoys being socially connected, and who has a deep appreciation for fashion. Via a touch-screen sapphire display, wearers can easily view content. Vibration-based alerts, a curated VIP contact list and customizable quick replies deliver notifications directly to the wrist – eliminating the need to fumble through a handbag or interrupt a meeting or event.
- Messaging: MICA provides access to text messages and notifications of incoming mails from "important contacts" as designated in Gmail. Users can dismiss notifications from the device and respond with customizable quick replies.
Calendar and Event Notifications: MICA displays Google Calendar and Facebook event notifications while enabling users to accept or reject appointments.
Personal Concierge: MICA offers intelligent reminders, "Time to Go" (TTG), powered by TomTom and Intel, that dynamically adjust based on location to account for the time required to get to the next appointment. MICA also provides users with access to Yelp local search, which includes business ratings and reviews. MICA wearers can use Yelp to locate restaurants, shops and other local businesses nearby.
- Priority Notifications: Users can curate a VIP contact list that filters notifications and text messages. Vibration-based alerts discreetly alert the wearer to incoming alerts.
Design: Elevating the appearance of traditional wearable devices, MICA's cutting-edge design is constructed of premium finishes and 18K gold coating with a curved sapphire glass touch screen display. One style features black water snake skin, pearls from China and lapis stones from Madagascar, while the other style features white water snake skin, tiger's eye from South Africa and obsidian from Russia.
Configuration and Security: The bracelet provides remote access and locking, the ability to locate the device, and configuration capabilities via a Web-based portal.
Two-Year AT&T Data Service Paid by Intel: MICA is connected by AT&T and includes a two-year wireless service plan provided by Intel in the price of the bracelet.
Intel notes that the battery could operate up to two days before charging via a Micro-USB port. The price is set at US$495 and will only be on sale in the US during the holiday season.
Reuters noted in their report that Intel's CEO Brian "Krzanich gave the green light for the chipmaker to develop the bracelet with Opening Ceremony after his wife wore a prototype for several days and liked it, he recently said.
Incoming alerts discreetly vibrate the bracelet instead of making a noise. Its $495 price tag includes a two-year data plan with AT&T, which means it does not rely on a smartphone for connectivity, as do most smartwatches, the companies said in a press release on Monday"
In some circles, MICA was known to be in development for months but the whole package just recently came together and officially launched today. In September during Fashion Week in New York Intel was previewing the device. It was then that they revealed that the cover glass of the display was using curved sapphire and runs on a 3G chip for data. It was rumored that the price would start at $1,000, so the lower price is meant to ensure it right for the holiday shopper.