If you haven’t yet heard of the Pebble wristwatch, you’re in for a treat. The Pebble is an amazing little device that uses an e-paper display (think Kindle) to display the time and so much more. It can show you text messages and emails, be a caller ID, show you stats about your run, or even control music playback over Bluetooth. It’s like an extra screen for your iPhone that helps you keep track of the information you need at your fingertips—er wrist—at all times. They’ve just announced at CES 2013 that it’s going to be available soon, which is why you might want to go preorder one now, if you haven’t already, for $150.
The Pebble was originally an idea in the heads of a few guys who were asking for a reasonable amount of money, $100k, via Kickstarter. Thing is, just about everyone who ventured onto their Kickstarter page thought it was an amazing idea too and contributed money. It was clearly an instant hit and they ended up receiving over $10 million. Turn the lame old fashioned clock hands forward a few months and the Pebble is now a real product nearly ready to be sold and used.
The Pebble has so many interesting features, it’s no wonder they received 100 times as much money as they were asking for. It’s a watch, so the most important part of the device is it’s ability to tell you the time. This is done via the e-paper display, which offers a number of distinct advantages to the standard dial of a wrist watch. First, it requires extremely little power and can be read in direct sunlight without a problem. Plus, it can be customized. Developers can code their own custom watch faces and you can install them as you like with the iPhone (or Android) app. So, you can have that classic watch face look, then change it to a text based theme, then one that plays tic-tac-toe, and finally decide that what you really need is a watch that tells time in the language of machines: binary.
But it doesn’t stop there. To get these custom watch themes to your Pebble, you’ll need to download the Pebble app for iPhone or Android. This app connects your device to your Pebble over Bluetooth 4. This brings possibilities as well. Not only can you load themes onto the Pebble, you can have it receive notifications like text messages and emails. You can even use it as a caller ID. Building on this, other apps can incorporate the Pebble as an external screen of sorts. My favorite example is RunKeeper. You’ll be able to see how long you’ve been running—along with other stats about your current run—right on your wrist. Considering that many of us run with an iPhone on our arms in an unreadable orientation, this is a huge feature. I’m really hoping developers make good use of this because the possibilities are truly great.
In addition to this already staggering set of features, the Pebble also has the finishing touches that make it a perfect product. It’s water-resistant to a few ATM, which means you can go swimming, shower or wash your hands without worrying about it. It has a backlight, a three axis accelerometer, a vibrating motor, and four buttons. The body is made of polycarbonate and is scratch and shatter resistant. If you don’t like the band, no worries, it’s a standard 22mm watch band. And finally, the battery should last you about a week, and it’s rechargeable via the special USB cable that reminds me quite a bit of the MagSafe connector on MacBooks.
Basically, if you own an iPhone (or Android device), how could you possibly live without this watch? If you’re as excited as I am to get one of these on your wrist, you can preorder one now for $150. The first batch of watches is going out to the original Kickstarter backers later this month and later preorders will follow.