Gadget of the Week: Pebble – E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android

by Brian Kecskemety

Every so often, a Kickstarter project goes absolutely viral and blows away the expectations of even its creators. The Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology has raised over $6 million in under two weeks, well over its goal of just $100,000.

Why the fuss? Pebble is completely customizable, with downloadable watchfaces and useful internet-connected apps. Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages.

Apps are a major part of Pebble. Cyclists can use Pebble as a bike computer, accessing the GPS on their smartphones to display speed, distance, and pace data. Runners can get a similar set of data displayed on their wrist. There will be a music control app to play, pause, or skip tracks on your phone with the touch of a button. If you’re a golfer, feel free to bring Pebble onto the course. Pebble Technologies is working with Freecaddie to create a golf rangefinder app for Pebble that works on over 25,000 courses worldwide. Instead of using your phone, golfers can view their current distance to the green right on their wrist.

Pebble also supports vibrating notifications, messages, and alerts. Users can dismiss a notification with a shake of your wrist. Notifications can include:

  • Incoming Caller ID
  • Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
  • Calendar Alerts
  • Facebook Messages
  • Twitter
  • Weather Alerts
  • Silent vibrating alarm and timer

Android users can also receive SMS messages on their Pebble, though as iPhone does not expose this data, there is no iPhone support for SMS.

Pebble also plans to release an SDK, so coders can get involved creating additional apps for the device.

Pebble connects by Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android device. It will be compatible with iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S running iOS 5 or any iPod Touch with iOS 5, as well as any Android device running OS 2.3 or higher. Yes, Pebble will even support Ice Cream Sandwich.

Pebble’s rechargeable battery will keep the watch running for over seven days and is water resistant. Users can recharge the battery using an included USB cable.
The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its pledge goal over 63 times with 24 days left to go, thanks to over 43,000 backers, so it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing these watches on the shelves soon. Pebble is estimating delivery for September 2012. You can still back the project and get a discount on Pebble when it’s available, (the unit will retail for over $150), so check it out at Kickstarter and watch their demonstration video below…

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