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The Pebble smartwatch for Android and iOS

by Mark Tyson on 17 April 2012, 16:54

Tags: Sony Ericsson

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabff5

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Watches have been disappearing from wrists ever since the advent of mobile phones, all of which seem to have a clock on the front display, though that could be purely coincidental. The Pebble aims to put something more useful on your wrist than a mere clock, something that lets you check your mobile phone even more often than before, so the project might have a good chance of succeeding. At least so think nearly 25,000 investors backing the project with over $3.5 million pledged support at the time of writing.

Alerta, the company behind the Pebble smartwatch, originally put its proposal on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site looking for $100,000 to help bring their product to market. The company already had a modicum of success with their previous watch product – the inPulse, which was a watch companion for Blackberry devices. The new Pebble smartwatch is intended to work with the much more popular and numerous mobiles that run iOS and Android.

 

Pebble Smartwatch

 

Specs of the Pebble smartwatch:

  • Compatible with iOS 5 and Android 2.3 or better
  • 7 days battery life
  • Water resistant
  • Scratch and shatter resistant
  • Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with your smartphone and install watchapps
  • 144 x 168 pixel black and white e-paper display + backlight available
  • Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR
  • 4 buttons
  • Vibrating motor
  • 3 axis accelerometer with gesture detection
  • Fits standard 22mm watch straps
  • Distribute apps via Pebble watchapp store

Functions, so far, expandable with apps:

  • Incoming Caller ID
  • SMS Text display (Android only)
  • Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
  • Calendar Alerts
  • Facebook Messages
  • Twitter
  • Weather Alerts
  • Silent vibrating alarm and timer
  • Displays the time!
  • Can utilise the GPS in your phone for cycling, running and navigation activities. It will tell you your speed, time, distance covered etc
  • Golf rangefinder
  • Control your music player

For Android folk there has already been a smartwatch available from Sony since 2010, the Sony LiveView (now available for £20 in the UK), so the Pebble ($150 when available) isn’t anything like a new idea. The Pebble has a number of advantages over the LiveView such as the iOS 5 support, e-paper display and also arguably, styling. Software for the device will be important as this is an area in which the LiveView from Sony earned a bad reputation.

Importantly, the Pebble smartwatch seems to have caught the attention of the media, if only for the way it was discovered. This is something that has worked for other things in the past like Justin Bieber and The Arctic Monkeys! Alerta might have caught the tide at the right time with the right product. Have a look at the video and decide for yourself.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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Well its got to be better than the LiveView which I picked up for £18 (Its been £15 on play recently). Even with a Sony X10 (which it should have been reliable with being the same manufacture) it was almost unusable - It kept disconnecting randomly and wouldn't reconnect. Its now stuck in a draw somewhere.

It looks like this is a far better device though - with longer battery thanks to the eink display and it doesn't look like its dependant on the phone to work so hopefully it'll be more resilient to connection issues than the live view was.
Very interesting device, if I had a smartphone I'd consider getting one because I do take my phone out of my pocket very often. The battery life is a bit low for me though, I'd prefer a simple device like that to provide more than 1 weeks worth of battery life.

Hopefully the next version has much better battery life with a lower cost, they are currently more expensive than my phone.
Could THIS finally be the watch that my wrist has been waiting for?

The specs are very impressive, except for maybe the battery life, as has already been mentioned, but alas, its already miles ahead of the LiveView which I came so very close to getting a couple of times desite the torrents of bad reviews it received.

It stands to be seen how the software holds up, as well as how much battery it munches from your phone when connected.

Will be keeping my eye on this one :)
Now that i have an HTC one X, its pretty big and unwieldy, something like this might actually work for me…

Only problem is that bluetooth can be a bit of a battery drain. Especially when other radios are on at the same time.
I'd really like one of these. I'm glad people have said the Sony one is crap, I would have been tempted to get one (though I did read that the software has been updated to work better with other handsets).

I've wanted something like this for quite some time, and I think it's only now that the hardware is really capable of realising peoples ideas. E-ink displays, new lower power Bluetooth protocols and chipsets, low power processors, all make these things far more practical.