The Intel MICA – the company’s smartband partnership with fashion house Opening Ceremony – has been fully unveiled at an event in New York.
The good news is that Intel has managed to half the cost of MICA from the $1,000 reported price after its announcement at IDC, with the band coming in at $495. The price tag shouldn’t dismay too many Opening Ceremony shoppers, as the designer’s jewellery regularly cost thousands of dollars.
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In terms of design, the MICA looks pretty on the money, and certainly exudes the sort of high fashion style with a healthy dose of bling that you’d associate with Opening Ceremony.
To back up MICA’s fashion credentials is 18-karat gold and snake skin, pearls and a multitude of precious stones from far-flung corners of Madagascar, South Africa and Russia. Discreetly underneath the cuff (Intel has deliberately obscured the screen from view) is a 1.6-inch, 256 x 160 OLED display, protected by sapphire glass. Intel quotes 48 hours of battery life for MICA.
The band is similar to Will.i.am’s Puls and the Samsung Gear S in many ways, namely that Intel has decreed that instead of connecting to your smartphone via Bluetooth for notifications, MICA should stand alone, and requires a separate SIM. Yes, that means managing two numbers, but the good news is that the $495 price tag is inclusive of a two year AT&T contract – after that however, users will need to take up their own plan.
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In terms of features the MICA is limited to messages from those who you choose to give your new number, data based notifications, calendar updates and social network bumph. However, you can’t receive calls from the band, and there’s no keyboard so you can only reply using a handful of pre-ordained replies, which you can customise via the web.
We can’t help that feel the band would be more useful as a simple notifier, for women whose smartphone is generally tucked away in a bag or purse – but for less than $500, the band looks good enough to stand up as a piece of jewellery, which is a first in the wearables market.
Intel MICA is being sold exclusively at Barneys and Opening Ceremony stores in NYC and LA this December. There are no plans to release worldwide at this stage.
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