When the “wearable” category first emerged, the connected devices it included were largely focused on health-tracking functions like counting steps or sleep patterns.
While the Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP demonstrated potential in wearable computing with their tracking capabilities and accompanying mobile apps, the devices themselves looked more at home in the gym than in ones everyday life.
Nowadays, a new breed of wearables, more female-targeted line of devices are starting to emerge, offering features that extend beyond health and fitness, as well as the look of “real” jewellery made with metals and stones instead of bulky plastic bands.
The “Smart jewellery” range includes a wide range of devices: From those that keep one aware of important calls and texts to those that are meant to serve as protection for women in peril. We selected the Top 10 smart jewellery to keep you connected, safe and fashionable at the same time.
1. Swarovski Shine
The Swarovski Shine, which can be used with health-tracking apps by Misfit and others, is an extension of the company’s versatile approach to wearables. The existing Shine tracker is a varicoloured aluminium disc that can be worn on a wristband, pinned to a lapel, hung on a pendant, or slipped into a custom-made sock or t-shirt. Swarovski isn’t helping Misfit make a new line of socks (that we know of), but it’s designing a variety of accessories, including a crystal-studded pendant, the crystal-studded bracelet seen above, and seven other presumably crystal-studded designs.
Price: It is being sold in three sets, each of which comes with a tracker and two accessories (like a band or clip); they’re priced between $169.99(£112) and $249.99(£165). The accessories also work with existing Misfit trackers; if you think they’d look better with an aluminium disc than a giant piece of glass, you can buy them for between $69.99(£46) and $149.99(£99).
Pre-order: Misfit Store
2. Tory Burch FitBit
Tory Burch worked with FitBit to develop four accessories that house the Fitbit’s core, which pops out of the wristband. The core is where the device holds its sensors that track activity, sleep cycle and so on. The silicone printed bracelets ($38 – £30) — which come in Tory Burch signature colours (blue and pink) and prints — are the parts of the collection most like the Fitbit Flex’s existing wristband.
But the real standouts are the pendant necklace ($175 – £155) and the hinged bracelet ($195 – £175), both made of brass with decorate open framework that Tory Burch is known for. Although the material isn’t of the highest quality, it quickly transforms the Flex tracker into an elegant accessory. Both pieces are stylish to wear alone, so the fact that these disguise a fitness tracker is an added bonus. It also lets you dodge questions about why you’re wearing a tracker in the first place.
Price: Between £30 – £175.
3. Ringly Smart Jewellery
Ringly is an 18k-gold plated ring that connects with a smartphone to discreetly notify the wearer when she gets a call or text. The idea is to incorporate tech into women’s everyday accessories so that they can enjoy the moment without missing something important, even when they’re not wearing pockets or holding a bag.
Ringly offers a selection of four different stones set in gold plating, which vibrate and light up when activated. The project has come together rather quickly — Ringly started in April of 2013, and by August the team had received $1 million in funding from Mesa+, First Round Capital, PCH, and Andreessen Horowitz. To date, Ringly has raised $6.1 million.
Now a team of 12 full-time, Ringly is putting some of its new funding toward the hiring of more engineers and designers, as well as expanding the company’s jewellery collection, adding new features, and introducing partnerships with fashion brands and designers to create a wider array of designs.
Price: Some of Ringly’s earliest customers began receiving their orders in early December, and now the company is working to fulfill the remaining pre-orders. New orders today, however, will ship in a few months – likely, April or May.
4. JUNE by Netatmo
Aimed at women, JUNE comprises a “jewel” containing UV sensors that can be worn as a bracelet or a brooch. It connects wireless with the user’s smartphone with the companion app monitoring the user’s habits and UV exposure to provide tailored sun-care information and notifications of when to apply sunblock, wear a hat or put on sunglasses.
Netatmo claims that JUNE is the first product of its type to be created as a fashion item and was designed by a jewellery designer, “with years of experience working for large fashion brands.” The jewel is made of alloy metal, is finished in gold, platinum or gunmetal colours and is provided with both leather and silicone straps. Indeed, it’s by no means a bad looking accessory.
Price: Netatmo launched the JUNE at CES, where it has won awards in the “Wearable Technologies” and “Tech for a Better World” categories. JUNE is available in three colours: platinum, gold and gunmetal. You can choose to wear it on the leather or on the premium silicon wrapband with a starting price of £70.
Buy: June by Netatmo
5. MICA Smart Bracelet
Intel has teamed up with fashion design company Opening Ceremony to launch a new smartband called My Intelligent Communication Accessory, or MICA for short. It comes with its own 3G radio, a GPS chip, and integration with TomTom and Yelp, all viewable from the curved 1.6-inch OLED display found on the inside of the bracelet.
Since the bracelet comes with its own Sim card and number, users will be able to ‘filter’ anything that comes through the MICA by only offering that specific phone number to VIP friends and family. That way they’ll always get through in a way that isn’t distracting for the recipient.
The MICA is configurable through the computer, letting users create canned response messages they can send in reply to texts. Dozens of canned message are already pre-loaded in the device, such as “I’ll call you back” or “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
The MICA promises 48 hours of battery life depending on usage, but we’ll have to do more intensive testing to prove whether or not that’s the case.
Price: The MICA is available for a price point of $495 – £330
Buy: MICA Bracelet
6. The Beacon Smart Cuff
Dubbed the The Beacon Smart Cuff, the bracelet is a sleekly curved piece of gold or silver. Instead of utilising a full-on display, the Beacon features a thin LED strip that lights up in different colours based on the type of notification coming to the user. For instance, using the accompanying B&L mobile app, you’ll be able to assign the colour blue to your spouse, red to your mom or any other combination of colour and contact you like. Or you could specify that green would indicate a text message from your boss while white could mean the babysitter was calling you.
The Beacon ships in three sizes: Small with a 6-inch perimeter, medium with a 6.4-inch perimeter and large with a 7-inch perimeter. The bracelet will sync to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth, and has an expected battery life of 5 days on a single charge. You can quickly mute the device by flicking your wrist or tapping the cuff, and you’ll be able to disable the LED display for when you’re at the movies.
Pre-order: The Beacon