I’m all about convenience — and I’m a terrible judge of time. My smartphone (and PDAs before that) helped me keep track of appointments, contacts, and stuff that I need to get done, but they were never terribly convenient for checking the time and date. My watch, on the proverbial “other hand” only told me the time, date, and day of the week. For as long as I can recall I’ve wanted to combine the two — well, sort of.
We’ve seen PDAs and even cell phones crammed into wrist watches before, but they’ve never succeeded at really marrying the two technologies. Various manufacturers tried to bridge the gap with a “smart watch” which didn’t aim to replace your smartphone, but to supplement it. Unfortunately no one has done a good job at that — not yet anyway.
Back in the day, Microsoft had their watches with S.P.O.T. technology built in. Other than its ridiculous large size, I loved my Microsoft watches. They were a watch first, but they had extra abilities built in: calendar events, the weather forecast, instant messages, and more. The down-size was their coverage area and annual subscription — and the fact that Microsoft killed it off. After that I went looking for another smart watch to cover the ring of pale skin around my wrist. There were so many options and possibilities, I felt one of them had to be able to suit just about everyone’s needs, and I posed the question to you: Why haven’t you purchased a smart watch yet?
I’ll tell you why: none of them got it “right”. Trust me, I went through several before giving up and going watchless.
Not long after the color of my wrist started matching the pigmentation of the rest of my arm, a little company announced a new smart watch they wanted to build. The were going to call it Pebble, but needed funding to “do it right”. They turned to Kickstarter.com and posted their project. Both Michael Fisher and I backed Pebble’s Kickstarter campaign. The outpouring of support was ridiculous and Pebble quickly surpassed their funding goal. They expected to ship in September 2012 — just in time for my birthday! That day came and went.
Their next target was in time for the holidays. When they couldn’t meet that deadline either, people started to worry, but Pebble sent out an email with a printable card in case you planned on giving a Pebble as a gift. Then, during episode 025 of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast we reported some breaking news: Pebble was going to have a press release at CES 2013 – with an “announcement”!
CES is here, and earlier today they announced that the Pebble is (almost) here! People who backed the Kickstarter campaign will start getting their watches in the order they backed the project beginning January 23, 2013, followed by the “tens of thousands” who pre-ordered their own Pebble. If you would like one for yourself, you can head to GetPebble.com and place your own pre-order.
From the press conference…
Pebble uses an ePaper LCD technology, not eInk like the Kindle uses. This gives the Pebble visibility even in direct sunlight, but has a refresh rate of 30fps — much faster than eInk.
It’s compatible with Android 2.3.3 and up with an app that will be available in the Play Store before the watch ships. If your device of choice runs iOS, Pebble’s got you covered there as well with support for iOS 5 and up, but with extra features if you’re running iOS6.