One of the biggest complaints about the current state of smartwatches is that many of them are just plain ugly. Most of these watches look just like a smartphone strapped to your wrist, but Intel is hoping to change that with one of its latest projects.
The company recently partnered with Opening Ceremony to power the retailer’s new MICA smart bracelet, a piece of jewelry with a touchscreen display discretely tucked on the inside. MICA is an acronym for My Intelligent Communication Accessory.
The bracelet is designed as an accessory first and tech product second, Ayse Ildeniz, vice president of Intel’s New Devices Group, told Business Insider.
“When wearables basically take off, when they become available for the larger masses, they have to be accessories that you like to have on you,” Ildeniz said.
Intel and Opening Ceremony have been adamant about the fact that this has been designed as a piece of jewelry for women — not an ambiguous wrist-worn phone companion like many smartwatches.
The MICA comes with its own 3G radio, which means it won’t have to be tethered to a smartphone to pull up emails, text messages, and posts from your social media feed.
This information is displayed on a 1.6-inch curved touchscreen coated with scratch-resistant sapphire, which faces the inside of your wrist rather than the outside like most smartwatches. This is meant to keep your information private, according to Intel.
The smart bracelet will be available in two styles when it launches before the holiday season. One version will come with a black watersnake skin finish, pearls from China, and a lapis stone from Madagascar; the other will feature a white watersnake skin base with tiger’s eye stones from South Africa and obsidian from Russia.
Opening Ceremony and Intel haven’t locked down a price, but the bracelet will retail for less than $US1,000 at Barney’s. The high price point is likely due to the bracelet’s build materials and 3G radio.
The MICA certainly looks much more like jewelry than any other smart device we’ve seen so far, but its high price tag could limit its audience severely. At first glance, you wouldn’t even notice the bracelet is actually a smart band. That being said, from what we’ve seen it still looks a bit bulkier than other similarly styled cuff-shaped bracelets.
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