Are you one of the people who backed the Pebble watch on Kickstarter?
Dan and I were, but unlike every other smartwatch that we have personally backed on the crowd funding site Kickstarter since the phenomenally successful Pebble was successfully funded, the Pebble still hasn’t shipped. We’ve been curious about the holdup; not alarmed, just curious. (Note: after the press conference we got an update with more info, scroll to the bottom to read!)
So when I found out that they would be hosting a press conference at CES, I was completely interested — not only as a tech journalist interested in connected smart watches, but also as someone who was an early “invester” (if you will) in the company.
Eric, CEO of Pebble, seemed a little nervous as he mentioned, “this is the first time I’ve ever given a press conference, and this is the first press conference I’ve ever been to.”
Today they announced that Pebble is in mass production, and Kickstarter backers watches will start shipping January 23rd. 6 to 8 weeks is what he estimates it will take to ship them all.
One of the core components of the watch is its display, a black and white ePaper display, which is an LCD variant that is easy to see in the sun and gets excellent battery life. The watch is 38.2 grams, so it is very light, and it has a strong polycarbonate body. The strap is a standard 22mm band, so it is easily swappable. The watch is 5ATM water resistant, so it can handle everything except diving.
It has a magnetic charging cable that snaps onto the side to maintain water resistance.
Colors are red, white, black, orange, and gray. They spent a lot of time with the colors to get the exact shades they wanted.
The watch is future-proof. It has a BT 4 module in the watch, even though it only uses 2.1 right now, they will be able to push updates in the future. It has an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, and a magnetometer.
They opted to build a FreeRTOS core, and created a new Pebble OS. The watch will support iOS 5+ devices and Android 2.3.3+ and up. They have also created the Pebble account system, which will allow updates to be pushed to users through the cloud.
Eric admitted that they have been light with details about how the Pebble will run, but they are now working with developers to write applications for the watch.
He said that even though the watch has a black and white screen, they have worked a lot of animations into the watch to keep it current.
The watch shows fluid animations.
And the watch will control your iPod touch, or smartphone’s music. It will also notify you and display email and text messages.
Pebble will vibrate when a call comes in, and the email/SMS feature allows you to decide whether or not you need to reply now. Pebble will also push Facebook notifications.
Using the website If This, Then That, you can set up notifications based on various triggers to push to your Pebble watch.
Being able to install different on the Pebble when the watch is paired to a smartphone running the watch app is one cool feature.
Software updates will be pushed to pebble every couple weeks until all of the promised features are there; if you are an early backer, then you will be able to watch Pebble evolve.
During Q&A — where Eric took questions from press in the audience as well as from Tweets and Facebook massages he was receiving in real time on his Pebble watch– assured us that SMS works “great” with iOS.
Eric thinks being able to control music in the shower is a pretty cool feature, but changing watch faces based on time zones is one of his favorites.
The delays Pebble has experienced have been mainly due to them trying to refine the watch to make it a better consumer experience versus a hacked together watch.
Here’s the packing box, designed to be “frustration free” and get the Pebble to you safely.
I’m even more excited about Pebble now than I was! How about you?
The creators at Pebble have released a new CES Update video for everyone to check out at their official site!
In addition to previously mentioned features, the Pebble will include the following sensors that we’ll enable with future updates:
· Magnetometer – we’ve added this in so you’ll have compass-like functionality
· Ambient light sensors – your Pebble watch will be able to understand how much light is available in its current environment
Some great news!