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Intel Unveils MICA "My Intelligent Communication Accessory" Smart Bracelet

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the speak-to-the-wrist dept.

Intel 48

MojoKid writes With a few companies introducing smartwatch products at IFA in Berlin, Intel's taking a slightly different approach. The chip-maker's wearable debut in Berlin is far different than those being issued by LG, Samsung, and Motorola, focusing on fashion instead of nuts-and-bolts. It's called MICA, which is short for "My Intelligent Communication Accessory," and Intel's calling it a "feminine accessory blending seamlessly into everyday life." While it handles text messages, push alerts, and other notifications like most other smartwatches, it's also snazzed up on the design front. Details are murky in terms of operating system, etc., but make no mistake: Intel's entry into the wearables arena is a piece like no other.

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perfect for golddiggers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831503)

Now you can weed out the deadbeats with this discreet wearable device that tells you exactly how much money your date earns. Don't put out before you're assured the lifestyle you deserve.

Re:perfect for golddiggers (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47831619)

I see some hackers suddenly getting a lot more ;-)

Re:perfect for golddiggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831653)

Ohmygawd unkempt nerds are soooooo sexy this week.

Re:perfect for golddiggers (1)

lkernan (561783) | about 3 months ago | (#47832137)

Ohmygawd unkempt nerds are soooooo sexy this week.

It's about time, we've only been waiting 40 years for this!

Re:perfect for golddiggers (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 3 months ago | (#47833059)

I think I speak for many of us here when I say, "eh? Come again?"

Re: perfect for golddiggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833297)

Your comment is of the type that is typically only seen on yahoo message boards or huff post. Lowest comment denominator and kind of trashy.

What happened to slashdot comments?

Re: perfect for golddiggers (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 3 months ago | (#47833433)

What happened to slashdot comments?

Dice.

What is the security like? (4, Insightful)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | about 3 months ago | (#47831527)

Cell phones are relatively insecure, especially the ones that never get updated. What is the security of this device like?
Already we are carrying around cell phones with all of our personal lives on them, and yet they want us to get yet another device that will hopefully be supported with patches and updates?

Don't really think I'll be getting one of these until a security expect reviews them.

Re:What is the security like? (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47831613)

Security costs money, so do you even need to ask?

And no, smart people do not carry their personal lives around on their smart-phones. You know, like nude pictures, that then predictably get stolen. Or things like that.

As to a professional security review, forget about it. These things are routinely either hugely embarrassing to the manufacturer or worthless. The ones that are neither are pretty rare.

Re:What is the security like? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47832503)

agreed. i'm holding on to my cash for the iwatch next week.

Re:What is the security like? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 3 months ago | (#47838017)

It's a device that *receives* information without storing it and generates nothing...It's a cell phone that can't send.

oblig. Futurama quote (3, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | about 3 months ago | (#47831531)

"This thing I wear on my wrist says they're not poisonous" -- Leela

Re:oblig. Futurama quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831537)

Tell us more about your sweaty boot rash.

My Intelligence Community Access (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 3 months ago | (#47831591)

Aptly named, I give them that.

Re:My Intelligence Community Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833249)

MICA is an acronym for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers [psychologytoday.com] , and also the Maryland Institute College of Art [wikipedia.org] in Baltimore. Some say this is no coincidence.

Just the warm-up (4, Funny)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 3 months ago | (#47831677)

Let's admit it: all these smart watches are like MP3 players, pre-iPod: early pioneers, but destined to be forgotten. Once Apple enters the field, the category will take off. You don't have to be an Apple fanboi to see that coming.

Also predictable: Apple's entry will not be cheap, will be criticized for lacking features and openness, but buyers won't care. Samsung will rush a copycat revision of their entry, and the press will laud various "iWatch killers," but they won't be terribly successful.

iPod, IPhone, iPad: we've seen this story before.

Re:Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831755)

> iPod, IPhone, iPad: we've seen this story before.

This time there is no SJobs.

I'd prefer that someone else take the crown, just like I don't like political dynasties because concentration of power means more benefits accruing to the powerful and less for everyone else.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 3 months ago | (#47831797)

This time there is no SJobs.

True, but I think that's overrated as a problem for Apple. Jobs was there long enough to leave his mark, and he knew for a while that he was dying. He taught a lot to many people there, including starting the little-talked-about Apple University. Apple now (and for a long time) has been far more than Jobs. I think they'll be a bit different than when Jobs was in control, but those differences are more likely to be positive than negative.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 3 months ago | (#47831805)

Once Apple enters the field, the category will take off.

Your fanboism aside (given your faith), there are contingent realities that often have to be dealt with regardless of how many people initially and dutifully get in line before the glass cathedrals.

Exactly what is a bracelet / watch thing going to do in any meaningful way? Battery technology hasn't changed so forget having more than a few hundred mA available. That excludes speakers. Then there's screen size as well. Even with txt sp3k lol it's still impossible to do much with, at most, a 1" square screen. Unlikely text-to-speech can be handled with a flimsy processor (see battery size comment)

Then there's the style issue. Who wants to walk around with their Logan's Run hand implant? Sure, Apple will grant you a few color choices but it's still a stretch to think everyone's going to shell out $500 for a generic "steal me" wrist-wrap.

Some technologies just don't make sense. At least with our current battery and silicon constraints.

Re:Just the warm-up (3, Informative)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 3 months ago | (#47831873)

Some technologies just don't make sense. At least with our current battery and silicon constraints.

A nice tablet at $500 didn't make sense... until the iPad came out. (Some early speculation had it priced at @$1,000). An expensive smartphone without a keyboard didn't make sense... until the iPhone. A laptop that is .68 inches thick (and gets thinner from there) didn't make sense... until the MacBook Air.

Apple has a track record of pushing limits, and of not releasing products that aren't highly refined. If they come out with an "iWatch," I'd bet it will be something special. And the following iterations will only improve it.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 3 months ago | (#47831965)

Well I hope you're right. Whether it's Apple or Huawei or McDonalds. It'd be great to have a wrist watch that I feel I can't leave home without because it makes my life that much better. I'm just not holding my breathe for that any more than I am for finger-rings that do something useful... actually a bartender guy I knew had a bottle-opener ring..

Re:Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833313)

Worrying about the thickness of your laptop or TV still doesn't make sense.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 3 months ago | (#47834079)

Some technologies just don't make sense. At least with our current battery and silicon constraints.

A nice tablet at $500 didn't make sense... until the iPad came out. (Some early speculation had it priced at @$1,000). An expensive smartphone without a keyboard didn't make sense... until the iPhone. A laptop that is .68 inches thick (and gets thinner from there) didn't make sense... until the MacBook Air.

Apple has a track record of pushing limits, and of not releasing products that aren't highly refined. If they come out with an "iWatch," I'd bet it will be something special. And the following iterations will only improve it.

Your point is merely that innovation is something people don't see coming. I don't think it applies here, however.

Everyone wants an "iWatch," so much so that you can use the term and everyone knows exactly what you mean by it. Everyone wanted an iPhone...they were freaking begging for it for years before it came into being.

In this case, though, Intel's made a massive mistake. You can't pair a highly-durable good (bracelet with semi-precious stones, precious metals and exotic materials like "water snakeskin") with something based on personal technology. Very few people will spend $1,000 for the non-functional components of something that they'll replace as often as a cell phone. And almost nobody will do it twice.

Even more notably, the pictures they sent are of bracelets that make distinct statements with regard to color, texture, etc. They won't match just any outfit...which means that either the user must not come to depend on the bracelet (or they'll be disappointed when it clashes with their outfit and so they don't wear it) or buy multiples (which only amplifies the cost/disposability conundrum).

If they had a form factor that allowed for separation of the cosmetic (semi-precious stones, snakeskin, etc.) and functional (electronics) components such that you could swap the electronics module between shells and update it without having to throw away the whole bracelet, then this could work. It would also allow for a platform, however, where you could just wear the electronics module in something like a silicon wrist strap...and thus, that negates the whole point of Intel's idea here by caching the thing as a fashion accessory. As soon as someone puts it in a $10 wristband and notices that it doesn't do all that much that they need, everyone notices the emperor is naked, and they go back to buying bracelets from Cartier or Tiffany's instead.

The key to the iPad and the iPhone was that they were, at their core, supremely functional. That they had lovely form factors was just icing on the cake, and their cache as items of status followed from that...not the other way around.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#47834429)

Apple has a track record of poor battery life so we can expect the iWatch to only last for 8 hours between charges.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

MikeMo (521697) | about 3 months ago | (#47831907)

You are absolutely right, of course, but Apple would not release an "iWatch" unless these obvious problems have been sufficiently mitigated. That's the magic.

A Meaning (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 months ago | (#47832435)

Exactly what is a bracelet / watch thing going to do in any meaningful way?

Provide a means of using NFC to pay for things even if your devices do not support it - and without taking your device out of your pocket.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

anjrober (150253) | about 3 months ago | (#47833637)

Even given the current constraints of battery and the never changing constraint of the size of your wrists, there is a lot that can be done.
i have used the last 3 generations of Garmin watches and even those have drastically added features.
they have also gotten much smaller (in the good way, like hey thats a big watch vs. the old ones that looked like a computer strapped on your wrist).
they are also lighter
As mentioned below, NFC will be a huge addition. tap watch to sensor and your off.
i love the GPS of the garmin, tracks speed, elevation, etc, gives a ton of data. also maps it all on google maps so its great to see where you have been. new features include tracking athletic specific stuff like VO2Max, time spent vertical vs. horizontal, recovery time, etc. all good stuff and just the tip of one of the many icebergs of what can be done.
Motorola's device has BT so playing music is sure a possibility.
on the screen usage, again the current garmin devices have a very usable touch screen and apple has sure shown improvements over the years in tap navigation.
maps are also reasonably usable on the motorola device.
needless to say, i'm hopeful the apple device will be a big step forward.

Re:Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831807)

Those who expect history to repeat exactly are just as foolish as those who ignore it completely.

Re: Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833323)

I didn't forget a thing. Everything that came before the iPod was better. The only feature that the iPod had that the others did not was a smooth plastic shell.

Re: Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833451)

Everything that came before the iPod was better.

Wow, this is so completely head-up-your-ass that I can't even believe it? Everything?

Re: Just the warm-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47844441)

Hm, you should take a course or two in UI design.

Re:Just the warm-up (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#47833977)

samsung already has 2nd or another way of looking 3rd gen wearable on the market.

so apples entry will be a copy of that and copy of motos too... for apples sake it should at least have some more features! that's why the speculation has been around heartbeat or some other biosensory gimmickery..

But they do look nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47831689)

I must admit, they have the style right in terms of appearance, technology aside. I could easily see this selling regardless of how well the underlying technology works; and it will, the consumer of these will be more about the look.

Not a great idea, I think. (1)

Andurian (1162629) | about 3 months ago | (#47831953)

A watch may be a fashion accessory, but it is mostly exempt from the expectation that it match with the rest of one's wardrobe. That stems from the days when watches were just too expensive to wear matching watches with every outfit, even if you were well off. This, on the other hand, will only go with some outfits, and doesn't have an inherited exemption from expectations of matching in female wardrobes. And it's probably too expensive to buy three or four. They're pretty, I must admit, but a watch is a better idea.

Why dismiss 49% of your market? (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 3 months ago | (#47831981)

Not sure why Intel thinks this is a good idea. Granted, there is lot of headroom in the women's market for tech, but why not make it inclusive and double your market?

Re: Why dismiss 49% of your market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47832259)

You can't feel a phone vibrate in a purse so a Bluetooth bracket might be a winner. Slim market for men that carry purses, though.

Re: Why dismiss 49% of your market? (2)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 3 months ago | (#47832343)

The male version would be a cock ring: "Honey, would you get that?"

Re:Why dismiss 49% of your market? (1)

amias (105819) | about 3 months ago | (#47832933)

lol , they didn't just discriminate against a man did they ! shit just got real

I read "MCA" (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 3 months ago | (#47832047)

and immediately thought, "isn't that horse kinda dead??"

(*for those who grew up under a rock, MCA, or Microchannel Architecture, was developed by IBM around 1987 as a stopgap technology between ISA (earlier known as AT) (16-bit) and PCI (32-bit) busses. It uses both bus widths and was intended as a backward-compatible bus architecture to supersede ISA. PCI buried it, being three times faster out of the gate and a lot easier to install.)

Re:I read "MCA" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47832207)

Cool story, brah. Oh wait, it's the opposite of that.

UGLY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47832247)

Is there nobody who actually followed the link and looked at the pics? Are you guys all fucking nuts browsing by /links/ and /lynx/?

They're the worst bracelets I ever seen, oversized, weird colors and jewels there just don't blend.

You got that right (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 months ago | (#47832451)

They look like something you'd find on Etsy, and not the first page...

Is this just me fantasizing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47832687)

Is this just me fantasizing, or do the pictures in the article look like posters for a lesbian film?

My, my, my (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 3 months ago | (#47832953)

Why does every freaking thing related to computers and technology have to start with "My"?

Even urls are vulnerable. Every other ad I hear or see nowadays gives a url that starts with "My".

I'm blaming Microsoft for starting the idiocy with "My Computer".

Please stop the madness.

feminine? (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 3 months ago | (#47833159)

"feminine accessory blending seamlessly into everyday life."

Looks like two lesbians to me.

Go Intel, i'am all for this new style of advertising images!

Re:feminine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833321)

And between the two pictures, they've swapped Micas - Kinky ! Possibly.

Ugly and, after next week, obsolete. Good move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833877)

All of the quick-to-market watchlike devices hitting the market in advance of Apple's product release is simply to cover all bases so the makers can line up in the usual "we had it first" lawsuit parade. They are designing shit products in a completely rudderless shotgun approach to features and appearance but one or two will hit on some similarities with whatever Apple comes out with.

Did they really called it a "feminine accessory"? (1)

pjcreath (513472) | about 3 months ago | (#47834759)

Reminds me of all the jokes when the "iPad" name was announced (and before! [youtube.com] ).

And Bloom County's chartreuse flame thrower [gocomics.com] .

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