PEBBLE Technology CEO Eric Migicovsky announced earlier this week that the Pebble smart watch, which came about after one of the most successful Kickstarter fundraising campaigns, will begin shipping to backers later this month.
Migicovsky said this at his company’s first press event at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas.
The watch is a customisable smart device which connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android smartphone and displays notifications, e-mails and information from apps installed on your phone.
It also allows users to control apps currently running on your phone remotely, for example a jogger would be able to change the music which is playing through their phone without having to pull it out of their pocket. Pebble’s display has a native resolution of 144 by 168 pixels, which at 1.26 inches is quite small, but is always clear even in bright sunlight thanks to the use of black and white e-paper technology, much like Amazon’s Kindle.
It has a three-axis accelerometer with gesture detection to allow users to quickly dismiss notifications with a shake of the wrist, and is water-resistant up to five atmospheres, so doing things like washing the dishes while wearing the watch or taking a shower won’t do the watch any harm.
Being water-resistant however, means that there are no external ports to plug it in, so for recharging, Pebble comes with a small USB cable fitted with a custom magnetic head which snaps into place.
During its time on Kickstarter the Pebble team managed to raise a total of more than $10-million (about R86-million) from nearly 70 000 backers after getting off to a flying start raising $1.5-million (about R12.9-million) in just its first 36 hours on the website.
At the press event, Migicovsky said the huge response on Kickstarter forced the company to learn about modern consumer-electronics manufacturing processes, but the result is something which feels solid and professional, not like something hacked together in somebody’s garage.
In the future, third-party app developers will be able to build support for the Pebble into their software, but initially a software development kit will not be available as the company decided to focus on perfecting the core user experience before opening it up to others.
The company will begin shipping out the first orders on January 23 at a rate of approximately 15 000 per week, and backers of the Kickstarter project will receive them in the order in which they joined up.
Unfortunately, as of yet Pebble have no plans to expand into retail, so if you want one you’ll have to order it through the website for $150 (about R1 290).