Intel and Opening Ceremony unveiled a $495, Linux-based “MICA” smart bracelet with 3G data, Facebook notifications, navigation, and “intelligent reminders.”
Intel teased its MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) bracelet at the launch of the Edison module in September. Yet, while it is similarly based on Linux, the MICA appears to be too small to house the Edison. The MICA is co-designed by fashion design house Opening Ceremony, which along with Barneys, will begin selling the smart bracelet in early December for $495 via their retail and online venues.
MICA’s Google Calendar notification
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Tech devices exclusively targeting women have had a spotty reception in the past — there’s always been a hint of condescension in male-dominated tech firms telling women what they want, and it often isn’t what they want at all. Yet the vast majority of watches target one sex or the other, and in this case, established fashion design brand Opening Ceremony has added fashion credibility along with retail partner Barney’s.
The MICA integrates 18K gold coating with a curved sapphire glass touchscreen, which according to the The Verge, features 1.6-inch, 256 x 160-pixel OLED technology. It’s available in one of two styles. One features black water snake skin, pearls from China, and lapis stones from Madagascar. The other integrates white water snake skin, tiger’s eye from South Africa, and obsidian from Russia. (And maybe somewhere in there is an Atom or Quark chip from Hillsboro, Oregon.)
Different MICA fashion styles
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Presumably all that bling will help make up for the high pricetag, along with the two free years of AT&T 3G data service with unlimited international data roaming. With the help of the custom Linux OS, which is confirmed by both The Verge and Tom’s Guide, the MICA is an autonomous smartwatch, albeit a somewhat limited one.
Interestingly, there’s no Bluetooth connection to sync with your smartphone. The device instead goes straight to the online source via 3G to send you notifications from Facebook and Google Calendar. (Intel mentioned no way to connect to Twitter, email, or other services.) You can set the device to vibrate when notifications arrive.
MICA Facebook notification
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The MICA includes your own personal data-only phone number, so your friends can text you directly, and you can curate a VIP contact list that filters notifications and text messages, says Intel. According to the favorable hands-on report from Tom’s Guide, the device can store up to 50 messages. The only way to respond, however, appears to be using customized short responses, so you’ll still need that smartphone nearby.
The overall concept here is that high-powered women will want to be freed from the chaos of their besieged smartphones during business meetings. MICA is like a personal aide who shields you from the riffraff while only admitting the people who matter.
The MICA is further equipped with a GPS chip and TomTom navigation software. The latter offers intelligent “Time to Go” reminders based on your location and appointment information. The software also works with an integrated version of Yelp, complete with ratings and reviews for nearby attractions.
The MICA features up to two-day battery-life , as well as recharging via a micro-USB port, says Intel. Other features are said to include remote access and locking if the watch is lost or stolen.
There were no details about how developers might get involved with the MICA. However, The Verge quotes Ayse Ildeniz, VP and GM for business development and strategy at Intel’s New Devices Group, as saying that new features and functionalities can be “updated over the top.” She was also said to have likened MICA to the Edison chip as more of a platform for the Internet of Things as opposed to a commercial product.
“The issue for many consumers on wearable technology lies in the fact that the devices typically are not attractive and are often times cumbersome,” stated Daniella Vitale, COO and SVP, Barneys New York. “Opening Ceremony founders Carol and Humberto, along with Intel, had the prescience to create something functional but also beautiful and chic.”