A few years ago, you may remember a smartwatch called the Pebble breaking into headlines as the wearable tech that raised an extraordinary amount of funding through Kickstarter. This was before the days of the Apple Watch or Android Wear, when the idea of a smartwatch was a relatively new concept. But now the technology is all the rage, with Apple and friends making announcements about wearable tech left and right. As it turns out, Pebble hasn’t been staying as quiet as some people suspected. They’ve been planning a new product, one that is once again breaking crowdfunding records …
Introducing the Pebble Time, the latest version of the company’s smartwatch. Like its predecessor, the watch will come in both a sporty, colorful model and a steel model, which features a more mature and classy design. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the Pebble Time is its e-paper color display, a significant upgrade from the black-and-white screens of the past. Under the hood is a built-in microphone for responding to notifications quickly without the need to pull out your phone. Returning features include water resistance, seven days of battery life, and customizable watchstraps.
The headlining feature of the Pebble Time is its new timeline programming, which lets you take in your day’s events at a glance, including missed phone calls, emails, and text messages. The device pulls information from your phone’s apps and arranges them in an easy-to-understand way. At its core, the Pebble is about productivity, and this is a great step in that direction.
The Pebble Time comes at a time when the smartwatch market is becoming increasingly competitive. During the Apple Watch presentation this week, the Pebble team responded with lighthearted tweets of their own. When Apple demonstrated a watch with a Mickey Mouse interface, Pebble responded with a picture of their own watch doing the same thing. Apple announced that the Apple Watch is water resistant, but you shouldn’t intentionally put it underwater. Pebble responded with a jab about their preferred method of cleaning their watch, which is a dip in the hot tub. And then, of course, the responses came in to Apple’s announcement of a gold watch priced over $10,000. Pebble retails for just over $200, depending on the model.
The Kickstarter won’t end for another couple of weeks, but there’s no doubt that the Pebble Time will meet its funding goals. Following the tradition set by the original Pebble, the company asked for $500,000 to fund the project, and received $17.5 million in two weeks. Since then, they’ve announced a slew of new features, including Smartstraps, open-source hardware that allows developers to modify their Pebble even more. Potential features include extra battery life, enhanced sensitivity, and more.
It’s unusual for an unknown company to go head-to-head with the big names like Apple and Android and win, but Pebble might pull it off once again with the Pebble Time. Look for the device to ship out this May.