I first stumbled upon Pebble’s incredible Kickstarter campaign in late April, 2012 when the project had already exceeded its $100,000 funding goal by a few million dollars. As a guy, I love gadgets and I love watches. The Pebble smartwatch appealed, for obvious reasons, to both penchants. After some deliberation I decided to back the project to the tune of $125. My reward was a Pebble smartwatch of my color choice. It took me about ten seconds to pick cherry red, the color that caught my eye on Pebble’s Kickstarter Page. Being a man I will suggest you to go for men watch, which will help you to flaunt a look while wearing it.
And so my watch began. Pebble sent out updates of their progress getting their factory in China up and running and building new features into the smartwatch. The September 2012 timeline came and went. In January Pebble held a press conference to announce the mass production and shipping of the first watches. Still months flew by. My impatience began to border on irritation as update after update went by and people on Tumblr started showing off their new black watches. Finally, more than a year after I paid my money, I received email notification that my watch had shipped and few days later it was in my mailbox.
To begin with, the packaging was designed to withstand shock, with a tough cardboard interior, and to open easily, with a drawstring tab. The components inside are the watch and a USB charging cord that attaches magnetically. The watch itself is incredibly light-weight. The E-Paper display is about a square inch while the watch itself is about an inch and a half by two inches. In red it’s incredibly eye catching.
Pebble pairs with the iPhone via a Bluetooth connection. My phone found the watch immediately and then, via the Pebble app from the App Store, I downloaded a software update and my first few watch faces. The menu is easy to navigate with forward and back, up and down buttons. Right away my favorite features were the text watch face, which reads numbers such as “twelve fifty nine” in a handsome lowercase script, and the music control function. My wife and I have Bose computer speakers in our living room and we often play music from our libraries or Pandora through our phones. With my Pebble I can control what music is playing on my phone from across the room. It works seamlessly regardless of the music app playing. It’s also very convenient when I’m driving or working out. Unfortunately, however, there is no volume control as of yet.
The other major out-of-the-box feature of Pebble is the notification function. You have to set your iPhone settings to display email and text alerts as banners when the phone is locked. Notifications are not always consistent, however. I find that if I have more than two or three apps open on my phone I won’t receive email alerts. Texts are more reliable and incoming calls always come through, even though the caller ID function doesn’t always work. The watch makes it easier to avoid missing calls when I’m away from my phone. I can answer the call from my watch, which buys me time to actually reach my phone.
Pebble has yet to create a third party watch app store. However, Pebble has released a developer SDK and programmers have been off to the races designing new watch faces for the phone. The variety of new watch faces is quite stunning. I have downloaded a few so far and have found the process to be easy once you know where to find them. I have a Dharma Initiative watch face that counts down the time Lost-style. The Six Words watch face displays a new six word story (inspired by Ernest Hemingway) every 15 minutes in a gorgeous courier new font. The Futura Weather Watch displays the time and the local weather. This app only works if you create and download the httpebble app via Macbuildserver. The app was designed by a programmer named Katherine and it acts as an interface between the Pebble and the internet. Directions on how to do this are here. Some developers have even used the SDK create games like Tetris, Arkanoid and Asteroids knockoffs. The Wild West feel of this open-source process reminds me of high school when kids would program games into their graphing calculators.
With a powerful Bluetooth connection and legions of programmers working to create new apps, I’m very excited to have this product and I can’t wait to see what people will come up with next. And to answer the question I began with, it was most certainly worth the wait.