I often support interesting projects on KickStarter and one I supported was the Pebble watch. Mine arrived a few days ago.
First impressions were good, it arrived in a nice custom cardboard box and the watch and charge cable were in a custom cardboard holder. All made from recycled and recyclable cardboard. There were no instructions beyond a note to “Get started at go.getpebble.com”.
The introduction page you end up on needs some work but I managed to get the watch hooked up to power and talking to my iPhone without too much trouble. It hooks up to power with a custom USB cable with a magnetic latch and two power dots. This is so that the watch can be totally waterproof – you can swim or shower with it on.
I then updated the software on the watch and added a couple of watch faces using the iPhone app.
The appearance of the Pebble is acceptable, for me it is a fraction too large but it is certainly no larger than a lot of mens watches. I really like the “Text Watch” face that tell you the time in words. I may have to change the band as I prefer a metal or leather band to plastic in Sydney’s warm weather.
The screen is a low power LCD with a backlight – in dark conditions you can turn on the backlight by touching a button, tapping the phone or even giving it a shake – a quick rotate of my wrist works fine. The screen is 144 by 168 pixels – large enough for a decent watch face or to show an SMS. The screen is easily seen in most daylight and office conditions though the white is more a light blue-grey.
Inside is an ARM processor, an accelerometer, a light sensor, a BlueTooth radio and a small vibration motor (easily felt when it’s on your wrist).
Once connected to my phone it worked fairly well. Due to some problems with iOS 6 it has trouble showing notifications from a lot of apps but it does fine showing an SMS, caller ID or details of a song when you use your watch to control your music.
At the moment that pretty much sums up all the functionality of the watch, there is promise of more to come with Pebble promising more software updates to add more apps and more functions to the current software.
Every so often the iPhone pops up a dialog asking of it’s OK for the app to communicate with the watch and hitting OK runs the app. When it does this is totally mysterious.
At the moment I have to say that the Pebble is a great start and a perfect addition to my network of things. I think the people at Pebble have been a little overwhelmed by the demand they’ve seen. I hope in the weeks to come we get some of the promised apps. I’m waiting for the cycle computer or Run Keeper apps in particular.
- Comment on Pebble Watch – A Smartwatch with Potential by Carolyn Nicander Mohr (wonderoftech.com)
- A Multi-Perspective Look At The Ambitious Pebble Smartwatch (techcrunch.com)
- A Wristwatch Tells When Phone Calls, Emails Arrive (allthingsd.com)