Shown off at CES for the first time this year, Viawear's Tyia is a wearable device that aims to bridge the gap between technology and fashion, much like the Apple Watch. Designed for women, the Tyia is a bracelet that focuses on delivering fully customizable notifications to let users keep tabs on messages, email, and social media accounts even when their iPhones are buried in purses and pockets.
According to Tyia's creators, the company's goal with the bracelet was to follow Apple's own lead and design something "absolutely gorgeous from the inside out" by focusing on the high-fashion jewelry aspect of the device.
Though it also includes a HealthKit-compatible accelerometer that measures metrics like steps taken, Tyia's true focus is on delivering notifications. It includes both a vibration engine and an RGB LED, both of which are highly customizable to allow users to create one-of-a-kind notifications for every app and situation.
The bracelet itself is available with gold or rhodium plating and inset with a semi-precious stone made of quartz, topaz, or another gemstone. In the first available versions, a quartz stone is fused to an 0.4mm sheet of mother-of-pearl, which serves as a light diffuser for the built-in LED. Internally, the Tyia has a 6-axis accelerometer and promises a 3-day battery life. It comes with a magnetic charger that snaps right into the bracelet to make charging a painless experience.
Tyia's notifications can be created with both custom colors and custom vibration strengths and patterns in the accompanying app, and variable vibration strength is one of the features that Viawear feels sets the bracelet apart from its competition. With different vibration strengths and patterns, an email might cause the bracelet to buzz slightly twice, while an emergency call could potentially be set to buzz much stronger for a longer period of time to let users know that it's urgent.
There's also an option to create notifications based on keywords, which is another unique feature that the Tyia boasts. For example, users can set a hashtag like #important or #emergency, and any tweet or message that includes that hashtag will set off a special notification that might flash red and white and vibrate strongly.
Because it's designed to serve as a wearable that's both fashionable and functional, the Tyia includes interchangeable straps. Though there are only leather straps included with version available for pre-order, Viawear plans to sell a range of different straps in multiple colors and materials. One band, for example, will feature Marsala, the wine-hued Pantone color of the year, while another will be constructed of a vegan material.
The company plans to develop an open API to allow third-party apps to take advantage of its fitness tracking capabilities, and it will collaborate with various designers for custom Tyia designs. Walter Chefitz, the company's Chief Creative Officer, has already worked to create a special diamond-encrusted Tyia with a green leather band, which he will sell on his Walt Adler jewelry site. In addition to collaborating with jewelery designers, Tyia also hopes to use its platform to help other fashion companies develop smart jewelry in the future.
Tyia is available for pre-order from the Viawear website at prices starting at $239. It will begin shipping out to buyers in the spring of 2015, which is also when the company plans to begin rolling it out to retail stores.