NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Intel (INTC) has been hard at work moving into the wearable technology space and Monday's official launch of MICA is indicative of its desire to conquer the market, even if it's going up against heady competition like Apple (AAPL) .
MICA, which stands for My Intelligent Communication Accessory is a high-end bauble designed for women who want to stay up to date with their online life, while looking fashionable offline.
MICA will offer access to text messages, Yelp (YELP) , Gmail, Facebook (FB) events and Google (GOOGL) calendar events, all through notifications on the bracelet, via a vibration. There's even a way to set up a VIP contact list and send quick customized replies using MICA, without the need of a smartphone. The bracelet will also let the wearer know how long it takes to get to their next appointment using a feature called "Time to Go," GPS powered by TomTom and Intel.
The bracelet, which costs $495, is available at select Barney's locations in New York and Opening Ceremony stores in both Los Angeles and New York. Both retailers' websites will offer the accessory in early December, according to Intel. Included in the $495 price is a two-year wireless service plan paid for by Intel from AT&T.
MICA is entering a crowded wearables market, one that hasn't even seen the launch of the Apple Watch, expected to be in the spring of 2015. Gartner analysts said nine out of the top 10 smartphone vendors have entered the wearables market to date or are about to ship a first product, up from two last year, Jawbone and Fitbit. Global shipments of fitness bands, which includes Jawbone and Fitbit, will dip slightly from 70 million to 68 million units next year, according to Gartner, but are expected to rebound to a record 91 million units in 2016. New, low-cost "smart wristbands" (of which MICA is one) will account for 24 million of those 2016 devices.
In addition to being a high-end accessory made of 18k gold, it also has a curved sapphire glass touch screen display. MICA comes in two styles -- one features black water snake skin, pearls from China and lapis stones from Madagascar. The other style features white water snake skin, tiger's eye from South Africa and obsidian from Russia.
The MICA comes with two days of battery life and will use a micro-USB charger to replenish the battery. There's also a feature to both access and lock the bracelet remotely, and a way to locate the device if you lose it or configure it, via a Web-based portal.
Here's a quick look at MICA, Intel's bracelet for women.