The company that beat Apple and Samsung to the SmartWatch game, by crowdfunding the first Pebble Watch in 2012, is doing it again.
On Kickstarter, Pebble is funding not only one new watch, but two of them, and something totally new. We’ll come back to what that is. All three products will untether you from your smartphone, but will also offer you the kind of fitness tracking only FitBit could previously provide.
In case you don’t know who or what Pebble is… Before there was the Apple Watch, there was Pebble. They brought the first smartwatch to the scene that was both IOS and Android compatible, that was affordable and was easy to use.
From the look of things, Pebble’s newest products, the Pebble 2, Time 2 and Pebble Core Device promise to offer those same benefits with a few upgrades.
Both New Pebble Watches
The Pebble 2 and the Time 2 share many features, some of which were present in the previous models.
For example, they both feature upgraded versions of the e-paper displays of their predecessors. The new versions introduce better activity tracking, for walks, runs, and (as they say) everything in between.
Everything in between includes water resistance to 30 meters. Yes, you can swim with both of these watches. Also, you can set goals, and integrate them with your calendar to stay on track.
But there’s more… calories burned, active time, distance, resting heart rate, and how much deep sleep you’re getting.
The new Pebble watches will even integrate with all of your favorite apps, like RunKeeper. All of this can be done without the need of your smartphone unless you want GPS data.
The original Pebble watch, which you can still buy from Pebble’s site, destroyed Kickstarter records in 2012. That’s how badly people wanted a product like this. (You’re welcome for the market research, Apple.)
The fact that the OG Pebble is still available for purchase gives you an idea of the expected reliability of Pebble’s products.
What the original lacks, however, is fitness tracking. The Pebble Steel, a steel-bodied version of the Classic, brought some of those features to the table but lost some of the simplicity found in the first Pebble watch.
This new Pebble 2 watch brings back much of the original form factor, keeping what worked, then adding to the features. At seven days on one charge, the Pebble is notorious for long-lasting battery life.
When it launches, at $99, this will be Pebble’s most affordable smartwatch.
The new Time 2 will outlast the battery on the above watch by about three days. The display on the Time 2 will also put the Pebble 2 to shame.
Time 2 upgrades the quality of the color e-paper display from the first Time watch, measuring slightly bigger; 50% larger with a higher resolution than the original.
Those upgrades come at a price, though. Compared to the Pebble 2, the Time 2 is comparatively spendy, at $169. For the user who wants an easy-to-read color display, like runners or cyclists, the extra $70 will be worth it.
The Time line from Pebble also does better going from the gym to the boardroom.
Small enough to fit in your palm, but designed to slip on your clothes, the Pebble Core bridges the gap between Pebble’s smartwatches and the completely phone-free experience.
The Core is GPS enabled, and you can link it to your watch, completely eliminating your watch.
In fact, the core will stream music from Spotify, track your pace, distance, and location with GPS, but can also send an emergency SOS if needed.
One backer commented about Pebble Core, “As a parent, I think the core would be a great way to keep track of my daughter, give an SOS button to [communicate] to me, and still let her listen to music.”
That’s a fitness wearable that is also creating a layer of security. Look out Fitbit.
You can bet the competition isn’t far behind Pebble. The current Apple Watch offers more seamless integration for iOs users. Android wear from Samsung does the same thing for Samsung users.
One thing is clear, though. If any of them want to compete, they are going to have to master fitness tracking.
Fitness is wearable’s origin story. Fitness is its future.