The Pebble Smartwatch. Launch on Kickstarter a year ago, this little watch started a race to be the best smartwatch in the land. Smashing past a funding goal of $100,000 to break records in the field of crowd funding and scoop up over $10 million and the best part of 85,000 pre orders.
After backing the project last May I have waited, rather impatiently, to get this device on my wrist. Now that it’s here and I’ve had time to live with it, I have come to some conclusions and some key information. Thus, the key points first and then detail after the break:
- After 3 weeks of regular use, the Pebble has lasted between 6 and 7 days (used with iPhone 5)
- The ability to perform actions to control your smartphone from your wrist becomes second nature very quickly
- It’s a lot lighter than I was expecting (I’m used to living with a mechanical watch on)
- The strap doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic at all and I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to change it yet
- It’s not perfect. The hardware is great, the software needs to mature ( I have some suggestions for extra / future features below.)
First Day with the Pebble:
Second day with the Pebble:
Oh, I have a message! Let me just read that. (Said in head: hehehe, that was awesome!)
Third day with the Pebble:
Press pause on the music controls when I get to the til in a shop. Press it again to resume playing when walking out. Seamless, wireless, cool.
Fourth day with the Pebble:
I don’t know how I lived before this.
Here I am. Now being some three and a half weeks along since it arrived and the integration of the Pebble in to my life has been seamless. It is somewhat staggering when taken into consideration.
There are plenty of other reviews of the hardware and the performance of the Pebble Smartwatch on the Internet and I will leave you to your own devices to go find those should that information be of interest to you. But as I did at the beginning I shall give you a couple breakdowns of things that have become important to me and that I would like to see in future software updates:
- Ideally I would like to have more notifications are available for reading on the Pebble. There are certain apps that I consider important and to get notifications from. There are some that I don’t and being able to control this on my iPhone and then relaying that information back to the Pebble would enhance the usefulness notifications.
- There is a management issue that would arise with so many notifications though. Some form of banking or cashing the notifications would be a logical step. Being able to scroll through and clear off notifications would be like a mini version of notification centre on your wrist.
- For all it will be difficult, the ability to activate Siri from the wrist will be quite helpful as well, but that’s not some thing I would class as being vital.
- The ability to draw data that is live updated from the connected device would also be fortunate. Many people’s design ideas for Pebble watch faces have included the use of weather widgets and other such information.
- What’s really interesting so far has been the way RunKeeper has integrated the Pebble. When you activate the RunKeeper app on your main device and proceed to go for a run, the app uses the Pebble is a second screen. This really feels like the ethos behind Apple smart devices. The device becomes what the user needs rather than just being a window and a function amongst other windows and functions. It changes what it is to suit the users needs.
- There will be many other applications that can exploit this use of a second information screen that extend beyond simply better forms of tracking just time, speed and distance. They can go beyond the world of health and workout systems for instance. I’m interested to see how the Pebble could integrate life monitoring for instance.
- With the use of QR codes I think that you could have one displayed on screen with all times and use it as a music festival or an event which would mean people don’t need to have tickets or wristbands. They could just scan their Pebble and up comes their picture to confirm their identity. One for Eventbrite to look in to perhaps?
The Pebble team have done a fantastic job in keeping a promise. They wanted to get the hardware right and then the software. The hardware is a great foundation for the development of the platform. Further software updates to both the operating system and companion applications will bring in additional functionality to a device that is the Herald of wearable computer. The Herald that doesn’t cost $1500 and last for 3-4 hours.