Back in September, Opening Ceremony and Intel took the wraps off MICA, their collaborative snakeskin-wrapped smart bracelet. But they left many details hanging in the air–most glaringly of all, how much this high-fashion, high-tech accessory would cost. But now that we’re on the verge of the holiday shopping season, the two companies have released more details of MICA, short for My Intelligent Communication Accessory. For starters, the bracelet will retail for $495 and come with two years of AT&T data.
In the emerging field of smartwatches and other wearables, it’s unclear what price tag will become the norm for the industry. Consumers are used to paying around $99 or more for products from Jawbone and Fitbit, devices which carry far less functionality than a smartwatch. Apple has said publicly that its upcoming Apple Watch will start at $350, but some reports speculate that higher-end versions, such as those sporting gold bands, could fetch as much as $20,000. Celebrity Will.i.am plans to release a smartwatch of his own, though no price point has been mentioned and the project has been delayed following negative reviews.
So as the MICA starts to roll out, it will be interesting to see whether customers gravitate toward or away from its $495 price tag. According to the company, the device will be capable of receiving text messages, as well as notifications from Google and Facebook; for such features, will consumers see the price tag as agreeable or as sticker shock?
Along with the product’s cost, Opening Ceremony and Intel also said that MICA will have a two-day battery life, and can function as a standalone device. However, MICA’s value isn’t so much in its technological capabilities (unlike other sensor-laden wearables, MICA does not track physical activity or sleep) but rather its looks, and perhaps such fashion-centric devices will inevitably be priced higher than more techie or fitness-focused products.
“When you wear this, it looks like you have a piece of jewelry on,” Humberto Leon, Opening Ceremony’s cofounder and creative director, told Fast Company in September. “Normal passersby will not even think this is a [smart] device.”