The mobile watch revolution is here, thanks to Pebble

The mobile watch revolution is here, thanks to Pebble

Summary: A new E-Paper watch, with its own app eco-system, that connects to your iPhone and Android device

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Companies have been promising the "watch phone" and things like it for years. There have been many starts and stops, but something was always missing. Either it was a bad user interface, connectivity issues (SPOT watch), price or just lack of practicality, for whatever reason, they never took off. Enter Pebble.

Pebble is a new E-Paper watch for iPhone and Android. The watch itself is born out of a Kickstarter project, and has already raised more money than any other project in the history of the company. Currently sitting at more than $5 million, with 28 days to go, the project already has more than 37,500 backers.

As for the watch, it's unique in a number of ways, which is probably why it has become an overnight success. For starters, it works with both iPhone and Android, sells for $115, and comes with an eco-system of apps.

With the above in mind, the company is so far showing off using it for cycling, music playback and control, running, golf, and more, with its feature list continuing to grow by the day. As of this writing, some of the highlights including incoming caller ID, E-mail, Calendar Alerts, Facebook Messages, Twitter, Weather Alerts, and a silent vibrating alarm and timer. See the video below for more.

As you might expect, the feature list varies depending on if you're connected to an iPhone or Android device, since Android exposes more (text messages, for example) than the iPhone, but there are still plenty of features to make this worthwhile, regardless of platform.

The reason I think the Pebble is a true game changer is that it will feature not only applications made available by the company, but also an SDK for others to build apps. This guarantees an ecosystem, especially with more than $5mm worth of watches already sold, and 100 of those to people with early access to the SDK. I'm hoping one of the first apps built is a phone app, since you can only do Caller ID on the device as of this writing.

As you can probably tell, I bought one (and am thinking of buying another) since the price is affordable and the functionality sounds like a great addition to my mobile gear list. Also, the watch appears to be styled and slim. The bulkiness of the SPOT watch was one of the main reasons why I never wore it and why I think it didn't catch on like it could have, even in its final days when the service was discounted and even free.

If you haven't purchased the Pebble yet, there's still plenty of days left. As of this writing, the company is stating a delivery date of September 2012.

Are you going to buy one? If not, why not? If you did purchase one, please comment below on what made you want to have the Pebble.

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Security, Smartphones

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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11 comments
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  • No not going to buy one. Not interested in a screen of that form factor.

    And having to have a phone with it makes it superfluous.
    Johnny Vegas
  • So far this is the best iteration

    Of this type of device I have seen so far. Using Eink display is great for this type of device to increase battery life and keep the display on at all times like a watch should be. But until it can be like Dick Tracy's with live video calls, I will keep my money.
    tgschmidt
    • Dick Tracy calls -- yeah!

      I hope the product takes off, and future development includes shrinking the entire smartphone into the wristwatch form factor, with a wireless "personal network" connecting it to an optional headset and tablet. Imagine turning an iPad or Android tablet into a larger- (and full-color) screen accessory and app server for your wristwatch-phone!

      Cool as talking into my wrist like Dick Tracy might be, I'd still want a wireless thing-in-the-ear for use while driving, typing on the computer, and several other scenarios.
      wluffman
  • meh

    This sort of device may have a future, but it's not here yet. I can see hard core Android geeks buying into this, but until it's less ugly, bulky, and battery killing, it will certainly not be a 'game changer' or see anything more than niche adoption. (bluetooth 2.1? c'mon.. 4.0 was MADE for this sort of application...)
    Uninterested_Viewer
  • Like it

    Since I am neither a hard core geek nor an android whatever, I must not fit into anything but I have purchased a watch and I look forward to getting mine. I have bought more watches for more money that do less. This one sounds like fun and useful and isn't that what tech was supposed to do?
    Geekygirl68
  • Worlds 1st & most advanced Android Watch-PHONE ! !

    There is already a Quad Band Android watch-PHONE??? on sale ! ! !

    Pics:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/103070315304680488132/AndroidWatchPhone


    Video:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzyaHJ-nHKE

    Seller:

    http://www.ibuygou.com/prod/Z1-Smart-Android-2-2-Watch-Phone-GPS-WiFi-Bluetooth.html

    -Android 2.2 OS - Memory:8GB -??? Ram:2GB
    -2.0??? inch TFT LCD with LED back light and QVGA resolution
    -Touch screen - GPS: Internal GPS antenna AND G-Sensor
    -Wifi IEEE802.11b/g - Bluetooth 2.0 Voice/Stereo support
    -Camera:2.0 MP Pixel - Battery life:800 mAh,around 6 days standby time

    A Watch-Phone has the following advantages over all cell phones because it's always on your wrist:

    1 - Instantly accessible to answer calls.

    2 - Improbable that you may forget it.

    3 - Difficult to lose it.

    4 - Most unlikely to be dropped.

    5 - Difficult to be stolen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z1_Android_Watch-Phone

    ff
    ffinder-cy
    • So

      Is it a watch, a peripheral, or a phone? Reading the links it sounds more like a phone or more like what the old "Dick Tracy" watch radio evolved into. It's a neat bit of kit but not what I'm looking for - the Pebble watch looks more like what I want - something that is not yet another phone (as I have 2) but a peripheral to my phone so I can keep it strapped to my hip and still be able to see who called, who texted, and the time of day.
      NonFanboy
  • "Guaranteed"

    I was looking at this watch early last week on Kickstart. There were a number of things that struck me.

    One - while Kickstart implies investment in a company, you are actually just preordering a product and not really getting any investment in the company. Interesting approach to marketing that has been excellent obviously for Pebble.

    Two - As others have stated, this is not a new concept. You even mention the SPOT watch in your article. While SPOT watches are now pretty much gone, there are others available - as others have mentioned in the comments.

    Three - This watch is is a peripheral device to an Android or iPhone. You mention things like apps and such. What happens to those applications when you are not in bluetooth range of your phone? Do they still work? At that point does it just become an expensive way to get the time?

    Four - You say that the SDK 'guarantees' an app Eco system. That's not true. Again, reference back to the SPOT watch. It has a framework for building applications as well. While a few applications came out, it was minimal. If more had been created, then more might have been done to save the watch.

    Having said all this, I think it is an interesting device. We'll see if it can get the traction that other similar products have not.
    zyvxn
  • I'm a backer

    I backed this a while back on Kickstarter, and I'm in for 2.

    This watch is less bulky than any I've seen so far. It works with Android. It lets you change bands. My phone is always with me, but it is usually in my purse, and not on a belt. While I sometimes put it in my pants pocket, with the larger phones, that doesn't work well.

    I am a female who is tired of all the cool watches being made for men. I am hoping this one will be wearable, and if not, you will find it listed on eBay.

    I love reading the comments. The form factor for the display is not right? This is a WATCH which will keep you from yanking out your phone all the time. I'm not interested in watching movies on it, I'm not even interested in watching movies on my phone - currently an HTC EVO 3D which I won from Radio Shack. I want to be able to see who is calling me, what an SMS said, my calendar for today, and I'm sure there will be more that I end up using it for.

    To the comment promoting the Android-watch-phone. That may be fine for some of you gorillas, but I'll pass. And being GSM (I think) - won't do for me.

    Oh, and I want to know what time it is without being so obvious as to pull out my phone.
    ibap
    • Well said

      I checked out the kickstarter and I'm considering backing it... I wonder if I can sync both my iPhone and my HTC Thunderbolt on it at the same time or at least have the two saved so I can switch back and forth as needed. Guess I'll have to post that question on the kickstarter itself.

      [b]To the comment promoting the Android-watch-phone. That may be fine for some of you gorillas, but I'll pass. And being GSM (I think) - won't do for me.[/b]

      [i]THIS[/i] particular gorilla (Gorillas... LOL) feels that the Watch-Phone ffinder-cy linked to is not only too big but is not more of a wrist mounted Android phone and not a peripheral device as the Pebble watch is.[b]

      Oh, and I want to know what time it is without being so obvious as to pull out my phone.[/b]

      For some that would defeat the purpose of showing off their iPhone or Android phone... Yeah they are cool but it's a bit "toolish" to pull out one's phone to check the time when they make perfectly good wristwatches for that same purpose... and the Pebble Watch is even better! Hmmm I might have just talked myself into getting in on that kickstarter... LOL
      NonFanboy
  • Is it waterproof...

    ...or do I have to take it off every time I take a shower?
    ccp_z