Pebble arguably sparked the smart watch market that Google and Apple have thrown their hat into. They’ve managed to hold on and build a community of devoted and loyal users and customers. It’s safe to say that Pebble is currently preparing for a war against Apple and I foresee Pebble not only weathering out the storm, but coming out victorious. Pebble’s watches are cross-platform, which means more users can sync with the watch and not be locked into Android or iOS. I backed the Kickstarter project within mere minutes of the project being released, and I did so not only because I love the idea of a small start-up making it big, but because the guys at Pebble are doing amazing things in a seemingly saturated market.
The biggest difference from the Pebble Time and say, the Moto 360- is the e-ink color display. They’ve opted to use the e-ink display over a higher quality one to save on the battery. The Pebble Time can last for a week while the Moto 360 is lucky to make it through a whole day. While charging my watch isn’t a big deal for me, making it through the day does matter. When my phone does die my smart watch becomes my only way to tell time-and if it dies along with my phone-I simply have an over sized and overpriced accessory on my wrist. The e-ink display only supports 64 colors, but given the fact that I’ll only be observing the time, that’s not a major area of concern. The watch is just that- a watch- that I will use to check up coming events, a message from a friend, or the score of basketball game.
The watch is an extension of my phone, and is not meant to replace it. I use my Pebble to see who has texted me or what e-mail I received or who’s calling me. It allows me to save the time of getting my phone out of my pocket when the notification or phone call isn’t an immediate concern. I also like to see the next event on my calendar so I am not late to work or an important meeting. I’d also use Pebble to check the weather so I’m not walking outside in my shorts and t-shirts, but with the proper apparel. The timeline, Pebble’s new operating system, displays all your information in just that: a timeline. You’ll be able to see missed alerts or how many steps you took an hour ago in the past, while still viewing upcoming events with ease. You don’t always have to enter apps to just see whats going on, which makes glancing at the watch and knowing whats going on.
The design of the watch is also a big draw-in for me. I like the playful and almost futuristic look Pebble took, and while this is moving away from the utilitarian design of the earlier versions, I love the changes that have been made. Wearing the smart watch has always been a nerd badge in my book, and while it’s clearly catching on with the public, I still get fellow Pebbler’s commenting on how they have one too. I’m glad Pebble didn’t go straight for a professional and fashionable choice because that’s not really part of their core brand. While Pebble Steel still has the utilitarian design that the first Pebble had, it’s still stylish and suitable to the point that a corporate head could still wear it and keep the Pebble community members happy.
The watch will retail for $199, which puts in the same bracket as the Pebble Steel. The watch is still priced below the Moto 360 and what the Apple Watch is expected to retail for, but some Android wear watches are the same price. I was lucky enough the nab the watch for $169 which included the $10 shipping fee. The $199 price will deter some people, but the original Pebble price of $99 is less intimidating and more of an impulse buy for many. If the watch does seem to be losing to Apple come holiday times we could see all the watches come down in price to where customers won’t have second thoughts about buying a smart watch.
While some will stick with their current Pebble model, which will get the timeline OS in the near future, I personally see something amazing from Pebble that I can’t help but support. Others may opt for fashionable designs from Apple or Android Wear, some true nerds see the perfect watch for them.
The project has passed the modest funding goal of $500,000 in just an hour. The projects now at $5 million in funding with 25,000 backers. We could see the Pebble Time project surpass the original Pebble project and the Coolest Cooler which received $13 million in funding. The project could break funding records in a little over a day, which goes to show how strong the community is andhow the demand for smart watches seems to continue growing with every passing day.