Intel on Wednesday revealed its first luxury smart bracelet for women. Designed with fashion house Opening Ceremony and called MICA, or "My Intelligent Communication Accessory," the high-end wearable includes a curved sapphire touchscreen display.
CNET last week reported that Intel was expected to introduce the bracelet shortly, in a sign of the company's ambitions to expand into wearable technology and beyond its core chipmaking business. The MICA is one of a handful of electronics that double as women's jewelry, including the $80 Misfit Bloom stainless steel necklace, which houses a fitness tracker, and Ringly, a ring starting at $195 that sends notifications from your phone using vibration and light.
The MICA, which was engineered by Intel, will be available by the holidays at luxury retailer Barneys New York and Opening Ceremony stores, and will be priced under $1,000, in line with similar jewelry from Opening Ceremony, Intel said. The device will provide alerts and notifications, including SMS messages, calendar reminders, meeting alerts and other notifications sent directly to the wrist display. Also, two-way wireless data communication through a 3G cellular radio will be available without the need to pair with a smartphone. The device can charge wirelessly or using a USB cable. Intel in October plans to provide more details on the bracelet's capabilities.
The MICA will come in two styles -- one will have black water-snake skin, pearls from China, and lapis stones from Madagascar, while the other style will include white water-snake skin, tiger's eye from South Africa, and obsidian from Russia. The cuff-style device opens via a clasp and has a 1.6-inch sapphire touchscreen that sits at the bottom of the wrist.
The device will be introduced officially at Opening Ceremony's spring/summer 2015 fashion show on Sunday, during Fashion Week in New York. The bracelet is the end result of a partnership between Intel, Opening Ceremony and Barneys that was announced in January, as part of Intel's push into wearable devices.
Wearables -- devices connected to the Internet that let you run apps or sync with other devices -- have so far focused on smartwatches and fitness bands, which help track sleep patterns and exercise routines. But some companies are attempting to move these products into the high-fashion markets.
Luxury brand Ralph Lauren last week unveiled the Polo Tech shirt on opening day of the US Open. The shirt, which will be available next year, includes sensors knitted into the fabric to track movement and gauge performance. Ralph Lauren hasn't provided a price. In June, Google started selling a more fashionable version of its Glass digital headset developed with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg for $1,500 to $1,800.
Though the wearables space is drawing in a lot of competition from the likes of Samsung, LG and others, the market could provide big gains for a company like Intel -- which last month unveiled a partnership with SMS Audio to create heart-rate-tracking headphones. The wearables market is expected to expand to nearly 112 million units shipped by 2018, up from over 19 million units expected by the end of this year, according to IDC.