UPDATE: In light of Pebble’s acquisition and dismantling by Fitbit, the article that follows describes impressions of a product that will no longer see store shelves. We’re going to leave it as it is as we were big fans of the Pebble as it hit its stride. We’re sad to see such an imaginative company go.
Pebble, the makers of wildly successful Pebble smartwatch, kickstarted in 2013 and the even more successful Pebble Time smartwatch kickstarted in March 2015, are back one more time with another group of iterations on their wearable technology. And yes it’s on Kickstarter.
Announced just this morning, the folks at Pebble are seeking to fund a new group of devices under the Pebble name. While the original Pebble brought smartphone notifications to the wrist, and the Pebble Time brought color screens and event-oriented timeline interface, the new devices are geared toward the fit-conscious.
The base model and headliner of this latest Kickstarter, the Pebble 2 is mix of back-to-basics and new tech. Eschewing the color screen introduced in the last models, the Pebble 2 has a much more robust fitness tracker than the original Pebble. It’s also adopted sportier colors and profiles that evoke the day-glo feel of fitness wear. The biggest add-on here is the new heart-rate monitor. Battery life is looking good at a claimed 7 days (based on use) and the 30 meters water resistance makes it a new swim-buddy. This model will retail for $129 but is on Kickstarter for $99.
The Pebble Time 2 seems to take the ideas introduced in their last Kickstarter and expand on them. A stylized professional look with a stainless-steel body, the Pebble Time 2 also incorporates the heart-rate monitor and also touts the 30 meter water resistance. I would probably shy away from taking this one into rugged locations as the last Pebble Time models were known to scratch. What’s impressive here is not only the larger screen, but also an impressive 10 day battery life, which is liberating when you don’t have to stress about when you’ll have to plug it in. The Pebble Time 2 will run you $179 on Kickstarter and will be $199 at retail.
A cute new wearable, the Pebble Core (for Runners) lets you leave the phone behind and take your Spotify access and fit tracking with you. It syncs with Pebble smartwatches and offers GPS tracking. With 3G connectivity and a headphone jack it lets you access your Spotify, and also features 4GBs storage on-board so you can take your .mp3s too. The little cube sports a button and a microphone for voice notes in case inspiration strikes you mid-stride.
That’s right. The Pebble Core (for Hackers) is the more nebulous and mysterious sister to it’s fit-conscious counterpart. While it features the same 3G/Wifi/Bluetooth, Audio and GPS, it’s built for the serious tech tweakers among us. It’s open to a lot of invention, and here’s where Pebble puts their faith in the users. Give the masses a tiny computer with a button that can connect to the internet and see what wonders they can cook up.
Is it your time to upgrade?
The Pebble line is a firmly established brand from the people who wrote the book on the smartwatch. A proven track record of successful Kickstarters with only slightly-rocky launches, you can be assured that you’re getting a quality product. That being said there are some things that you may want to consider. While the Pebble Core (for Runners) supports Spotify, there’s no word about support of other streaming services like Google Play Music or Pandora. But with growing selection of Pebble-supported apps and the experience of their team, these new additions to the Pebble family are shaping up to be an even bigger success.