Intel pulled out all of the stops when debuting their new smartwatch, MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) , displayed like a piece of art in a glass case at IDF 2014. And in a way, MICA is a piece of art, doing away with the overtly digital design offerings available from Samsung and Motorola. Instead, Intel created wearable tech that people actually want to wear; a statement piece for fashionphiles and tech geeks alike.

Intel’s slow takeover might have to do with the hefty price tag of $495, but slow-moving sales notwithstanding, Intel is pushing wearable tech into new territory. What does it mean for eLearning and the mobile tech industry on the whole? You might be surprised.

Right on Target

While technically MICA can be worn by either gender, its high-end styling has a clear target: Women. The snakeskin band and large gemstone practically eclipses the touch screen on the back of the piece, making it a statement piece first and a smart watch second. As a standalone device, it doesn’t act as a companion piece to your smartphone, but rather a messaging, scheduling and reminder machine in and of itself.

Fashion Tech: A New Market

What Intel is hoping to achieve is to capture the previously neglected women’s market. They don’t want to clunky, obviously digital devices offered by other brands. The Intel MICA might be one of the first smartwatches where design meets functionality to create a new brand of “fashion tech.”

Tech Implications

Not in the market for a statement smartwatch? Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the Intel MICA altogether, since its mere existence says a lot about where tech is headed. A changing attitude toward smartwatches and other wearable tech toward being fashion accessories and not just novelty items proves just how mainstream the technology has become.

Not sure how it affects eLearning? Consider this scenario: A company is releasing a new product line. To celebrate the release, clients are given preloaded (and fashionable) smartwatches, which can alert them to announcements, reminders and even short messages about the product line periodically. While some might dislike the idea of getting too gimmicky, it could be a win-win situation: Clients get a stylish new smartwatch, while companies push their marketing.

Smartwatches could also be a sneaky way to stay in near-constant contact with employees. By offering smartwatches as a perk, it’s easy to send status messages and reminders, allowing everyone to be on the same page at the same time.

The age of smartwatches is still in its infancy, but the Intel MICA proves that it’s heading in the right direction. After all, beautiful things can happen when fashion meets function.