Pebble Head

CES 2013: Pebble Smartwatch To Ship This Month

Kickstarter backers will get the hotly anticipated device before it appears on the market

On by Max Smolaks 0

The creators of Pebble, the Kickstarter-funded monochrome watch that wirelessly connects to a smartphone and has its own app store, have announced the launch date for the device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The ‘smartwatch’ was delayed for four months due to hardware issues, but will finally start shipping to its 85,000 backers on 23 January. Further orders will be possible through a dedicated website.

The unusual project made the headlines in May last year, after receiving over $10 million (£6.2m) in financial support and becoming the most successful crowd-funding project in the history of Kickstarter.

Believe the hype

Pebble weighs just 38 grams and features a 1.26-inch e-paper screen, similar to the ones used in e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle. Besides keeping time, the little gadget is capable of connecting to an Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth, and running a variety of apps.

 

Pebble 1The device can show the time using hundreds of downloadable watchfaces on its 144×168 pixel screen, and run apps that can transform it into a bike computer to measure speed and distance, a runner’s watch, MP3 player remote control, golf rangefinder, and more.

Pebble can also display texts or emails, calendar reminders or a shopping list. It features an in-built vibrator, accelerometer, backlight and four hardware buttons that can be used by apps, presenting plenty of possibilities for would-be developers. The device is waterproof, and comes with a rechargeable battery capable of keeping it operational for a whole week.

The creators plan to make the Pebble SDK available online, and coding enthusiasts will be able to create their own apps, to be hosted in a fully-featured smartwatch app store.

Pebble 2Pebble was the brainchild of Eric Migicovsky, 25, who turned to Kickstarter to get additional financing for his pet project. Eric wanted to raise a very optimistic $100,000 in a month, but reached this target in just two hours. In 28 hours, he had managed to secure $1 million. Today, the total amount pledged by Kickstarter users stands at $10,266,845.

Originally, Migicovsky planned to manufacture pebble in San Jose, California, but had to outsource production to China due to popular demand. According to the Guardian, technology journalists applauded his short presentation at CES, which was also live streamed to Kickstarter backers.

Pebble will be available directly through the website, and the company currently has no plans to sell it in brick-and-mortar stores. The smartwatch had cost early backers around $100, but will now retail for $150.

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Max Smolaks
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