The Demise of Pebble as a Platform

Despite owning five, including the original Pebble, I’ve always been somewhat skeptical about smart watches. Even so, the leaked news that Fitbit is buying Pebble for “a small amount” has me sort of depressed about the state of the wearables market. Because Pebble could have been a contender, although perhaps not for the reason you might guess.

Pebble is a pioneer of the wearables market, and launched its first smartwatch back in 2012, two years before the Apple Watch was announced. But after turning down an offer of $740 million by Citizen back in 2015, and despite cash injections from financing rounds and a recent $12.8 million Kickstarter, the company has struggled financially.

An offer of just $70 million earlier this year by Intel reflected Pebble’s reduced prospects, and the rumoured $30 to $40 million price being paid by Fitbit must be a disappointing outcome for a company that was riding high such a short time ago.

Building Wearable Tools, Not Wearable Products

There is no more hackable smart watch than the Pebble. Here it's used as part of a sailing computer.
There is no more hackable smart watch than the Pebble. Here it’s used as part of a sailing computer.

Right now the wearables market is suffering, even more than the Internet of Things, from the platform problem — people are building platforms, rather than products. This often happens when people, or companies, see a new emerging technology but don’t quite know what to do with it yet. The problem continues until the platforms are good enough, or widespread enough, that people will automatically pick an existing one rather than reinventing the wheel. They start, in other words, to build products. Although it’s happening painfully slowly, the Internet of Things is starting to drag its way out of the platform problem — but the same can’t be said of wearables.

Arguably perhaps, one of the main reasons that the Internet of Things has taken off is Bluetooth LE, and Apple moving it outside of its restrictive MFi program. Bluetooth LE hardware is cheap, readily available, and easier to use than previous Bluetooth standards. It also uses very small amounts of power, and has a data rate sufficient for most sensors. It’s a good fit for the Internet of Things, but widespread adoption didn’t happen until manufacturers could make use of it to offload UI tasks to a more suitable platform — the smartphone — and when Apple moved Bluetooth LE outside of the MFi program it solved what I’ve always referred to as ‘the 50% problem’ which was that only half of the world’s smart phones could talk to sensors and other hardware using it.

What the wearables category needed, and still needs, is something that could similarly drive adoption of simple, cheap, sensors. Something that would allow makers and manufacturers to concentrate function, rather than having to reinvent the wheel for every device, by having to give it its own UI. Which brings us to the smartstrap.

The Smartstrap as a Platform

xado-smart-strap-concept-from-pebbleThe arrival of the Pebble Time, and the company’s second Kickstarter introduced the smartstrap. The idea was simple, the new watch came with a smart accessory port allowing the straps to connect to the watch, and contain electronics and sensors, that could be interfaced directly with apps running on Pebble Time.

If handled right, smartstrap could easily have proved to be a driver for innovation in the wearable market — allowing manufacturers not only to power their wearables, but to offload UI tasks to a suitable platform, one the user would be carrying with them in any case: the watch they already owned.

Interestingly, the smartstrap was a pretty open standard, and building one was fairly straightforward. Pebble posted mechanical details along with assembly instructions, the only part of the strap that was not available off-the-shelf was the adapter, and Pebble made both STP and STL files available allowing you to print your own, or if you couldn’t be bothered you could always get one from Shapeways.

They also provided a simple suggested circuit—using a single buffer/driver voltage level converter with Zener diodes for ESD protection — to connect a ‘normal’ RX/TX serial connection you might use with an Arduino to the smartstrap.

There was even an example Arduino library, for communicating with the Pebble Time using the smartstrap port, as an example implementation of the smartstrap protocol, showing how to talk to the smartstrap from your Pebble, and how to talk to the Pebble from the smartstrap.

Missing the Jump

There are several main areas where I think something like the smart strap could have made a big difference in the current wearables market, enabling manufacturers and makers building a wearable devices by providing a ‘default’ platform.

The first is wearable sensors, for instance medical sensors to measure skin temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. Despite the apparent success of the quantified self movement there are far fewer Fitbit-like devices than there are watches, and far fewer people willing to clip yet another device to themselves than would be prepared to wear a watch. The relatively long battery life of the Pebble, and its ability to power sensors, would also come into play here especially for applications like sleep tracking.

But when thinking about sensors and the smartstrap it’s important to consider the possibly large installation base. As well as personal sensors it could be possible to use the platform to provide large scale, highly distributed measurements of things like weather and other environmental data.

It’s possible the smart strap could also have provided a vital kick to the indoor location problem. At the moment the smartphone is serving as the default platform for navigation. However it doesn’t necessarily provide the best — or a particularly subtle — UX in that role, especially indoors. You could imaging tactile feedback using the smartstrap for navigation, e.g. turn left, turn right, straight ahead, allowing people to navigate strange buildings more naturally.

In other words, a popular and open smartstrap standard might easily have driven products by being a wearables platform that was “good enough” for people to use instead of having to invent their own.

So Whatever Happened to the Smartstrap?

Seeed's Xadow adapter clips onto the back of Pebble
Seeed’s Xadow adapter clips onto the back of Pebble

Pebble set up a $1 million fund to encourage development, and hosted a weekend long hackathon in Boulder, but developer excitement was pretty muted. SeeedStudio brought its Xadow Adaptor to market but, outside of Kickstarter where an NFC payment strap and a GPS strap were funded, few other commercial products were built.

Despite some really interesting one-off devices getting built (one team at the Pebble Hacks Boulder event even built a gramophone dock for the watch) development around the smartstrap platform faltered. It never became a viable option for widespread hobby projects. Without this kind of low-level adoption there simply wasn’t a mechanism to make the smart strap desirable to those who had already adopted the Pebble watch, much less to attract new interest.

Just Ahead of its Time?

Pebble’s next attempt and final at a wearable platform came with its latest Kickstarter and the Pebble Core. As our computing diffuses out into the environment, into wearables and the Internet of Things, it’s realistic to expect that our UI — how we interact with our computing — will also move out away from the ubiquitous smartphone and its screen. The Pebble Core is foreshadowing that trend, essentially a smartphone in a box without a screen, it could serve as the hub of your personal computing. A platform for other wearables and device manufacturers to build around.

Peeble Core --"an entirely new device for runners"
Pebble Core –“an entirely new device for runners”

With the sale of Pebble to Fitbit, and the likelihood that the Pebble brand will be phased out after the acquisition — Fitbit is after all interested in Pebble’s intellectual property not its devices — it’s possible we won’t see how this attempt at a platform plays out. It’s even possible that the Pebble Core now won’t ship to backers at all. Especially as Fitbit itself isn’t doing all that well.

The Apple Newton is perhaps the most well know poster child for the saying that, behind every successful idea is the same idea done by someone else, just too early. Where Apple failed, at least the first time around, before the iPhone changed everything, Palm succeeded. This time around we know only two things. Firstly that the demise of Pebble and its platform is now mostly assured, and that at least some companies still have faith in the wearables market. Perhaps the next platform will have better luck.

[Main image by 23rd Studios — Boulder, CO]

62 thoughts on “The Demise of Pebble as a Platform

  1. Received a Pebble Classic for free and despite my hatred for immersion in to constant internet connectivity, I developed admiration for Pebble’s platform flexibility and even the design — generally hate wearing watches. Created a few projects on HaD with it and especially was fond of eased coding of a watch face that suited precisely my personality, some thing most other brands will never truly permit. Pebble hit a wall when Apple and Samsung came to life and was abandoned to the likes of us, makers, who are never abundant enough to keep the sparingly afloat. I say thank you Pebble for your contribution and very amenable staff. https://hackaday.io/project/9528-gate-jedi

    1. Agreed! I bought a classic, discovered their amazing (and free!) online SDK and built a few apps myself. It was a great environment! It even scored me a free PT colour! I like that it’s personalized, and the colour is neat. Unfortunately it dropped the battery life from > 1 week to ~4 days which created an awkward charge cadence, but I’ve managed. It’s still better than a ~24hr or worse charge cadence.

      My uncle owns a small business in a market with a couple massive players. He said something once that stuck with me. He said: the big guys would love for nothing more than for me to take out a big loan and try and compete internationally. Once I do that they’ll move in and put me out of business. But as long as I stay lean and minimize my risk, i will continue to operate with a small but loyal customer base for years.

      Over the years his small business introduced innovations that the big players quickly adapted as they were clearly superior. 25+ years later, he is still in business. I scan the farm lands and I don’t see his product out there, but he’s selling enough somewhere to live the lifestyle he wants.

      1. You reminded me of the primary reason I discontinued use of said watch. I can not abide to wearable tech that requires me to charge it so frequently. The urgency I have for a watch should not have me stressed the battery may die. The day battery life is monthly in the least is when I may return to smart watches…and smart shoes, smart underwear, smart neck tie, smart colostomy bag, smart onion tear protector, smart toe nail paint…etc.

        1. Agreed. A multiyear battery life would be grand. But I’m willing to give up that for the added features. But only to a point. I believe it is about cadence. My routine enabled a convenient recharge Sunday evening, which worked perfectly for the classic with its ~10-11 day battery life. Now with the 4 day life of the PT, I’ve adopted a charge while showering routine. It’s enough to keep it going for a couple days so that I’m not stressed about a low battery. I’ll shower again soon enough for both the watch and those around me.

          1. Interesting. I still get about 10-14 days on my PT Steel. I know on the classic i had battery issues because of my watch face. Displaying seconds seemed to kill it because of it changing the display all the time.

        2. Mine has become a charge cycle of once every four days and isn’t a big deal to me. At least I don’t have to charge it every day.

          I don’t know when you stopped using it, but the last major firmware update of the Pebble Classic had a feature that would tell you when you have 12 hours left. I just charge mine at night when I get that warning. Even if you wear it beyond that 12 hours it will go into a low power mode and display the time.

          1. I typically am not in an environment where I can just charge when ever I feel like it. I am outdoors for stretches of time that make a watch with cool features, utterly useless on day 4 when I can not see seconds or then the time at all. Smart watches are for city dwellers, not combat ready.

  2. Pebble is the {Beta|DEC|Amiga} of the smart watch industry. They got it right. But failed to realize people don’t want it right, they want it flashy, sexy, etc.

    With one exception(*), Pebble is still the only watch on the market to nail my use case for a smart watch. A low cost, always on, battery that lasts for days, simple extension of the notification section of my phone. At $100 for the original black & white, it was perfect.

    I cringed when they announced the colour version at more than double the b&w price and thought – this is the end. They are chasing feature creep to compete with the big boys and are going to be squished like a bug. Took a while, but with the further creep into fitness tracking they’ve over extended and are now being shut down.

    (*) Very few companies have truly understood the importance of not missing a notification. Palm/Blackberry got it. But with the explosion of smart devices chirping, beeping, buzzing with every social interaction the general masses are being stressed by too much notification. And so, companies like Pebble introduce ‘quiet modes’ to suppress the deluge of notifications. However, for a small percentage of us, we’ve managed our notifications such that the few that get through are very important and cannot be missed. Pebble unfortunately never understood that. Default notifications fire once, and then autoclear after 3 minutes. If you are distracted or busy at the time of notification, it will be long gone when you look again. Yes this can be solved with (buggy) 3rd party add ons. By it shouldn’t have to be. It is my biggest complaint about Pebble who came oh so close to being the perfect smart watch.

    1. No, they got it right (in the beginning) but failed to recognize the fact and tried to chase the unicorn of “market leader”. There is no unified market for smart watches so there’s no market leader, and so they wasted a huge amount of money trying to be FitBit AND Garmin AND Apple AND Samsung. Instead they should have realized that the “early tech adopter” market was going to belong to Apple, and the “phone on my wrist” market was going to belong to Samsung, and that the “programmable phone screen on your wrist with decent battery life” market was well and truly theirs.

      Stay a little humble, and keep making a profit.

  3. The killer app for wristwear was time. This was because there was a huge demand for having that information available at a glance. The only other thing that comes close is heart-rate for an athlete, this can be designed in from scratch. The fact is that there is just isn’t that much else where this display is superior enough to be the first choice.

    1. With the onslaught of smartphone technology, the ability to quickly and discretely triage a notification without handling or even looking at your phone is golden.

      It does require managing notifications down to the truly important. But even then, there will be some further triage to determine if it warrants pulling over (if driving) or excusing yourself (if in a meeting,etc) to attend to or if it can wait until a more convenient time.

      A quick glance at a watch is slight socially awkward (may give the pretense of impatience), but is much less offensive than pulling out your phone.. and currently, glancing at your watch is not illegal while driving, whereas pulling out your phone is in many places.

      For those who are on call, have a sick relative who may require your input, etc. that notification extension in my opinion is the wristwear killer app that has been undervalued.

      1. Yes but this is not a unique solution to the tasks you mentioned. Bluetooth links my phone to my car, for example, or to a small headset. These compete directly with smartwatch solutions.

        1. Not really. Why would I want a different experience based on where I am? A watch is always there. Also a Pebble is $200. A car with even decent integration (still not great) is a bit more. Aftermarket can come closer in price but still. The second I get out of my car I lose that. Not to mention my primary use case for reading notifications isn’t while I drive…

          Just my two cents.

          1. I think you are missing the point I was trying to make. Watches were widely adopted because the fulfilled a need that many, many people had which was to know the time of day at a glance. That was the application that drove wide adoption of this device. There is just not a burning need for any other type of information to be displayed this way other than pulse-rate and even the number of people that want that is small compared to those that need the time function. All other potential applications summed together do not come close to the latter two in the number of people that want them which is why data watches will never be mainstream.

  4. All of these “Wearable” Watches are USELESS at a fundamental level as far as I’m concerned. The problems are:
    1. Short battery life.
    2. No user replaceable battery (read: Planned Obsolescence & User Brand Lock-In).
    3. E-Ink “like” displays that are promising, but consume too much power to update the display once per second, a fundamental requirement for an accurate seconds display.
    4. No standard watch-band attachment method (again: Planned Obsolescence & User Brand Lock-In).
    5. Spying on Us. The business model of these “Connected” Wearables is ALL about monetizing everything about YOU. You are the “Product”, not the watch.
    I recommend you AVOID this “Wearable” watch Crap until it is mature.
    Take a look at the Casio MTP1239D-1A series watches. Quartz-analog dial, date, and weekday display. Bulletproof construction; including the excellent SS band. Years of battery life. Water resistant. The battery is easy to replace yourself over and over once you have a very low cost pry tool (or just watch YouTube videos about many ways to remove and replace the back cover).
    I am NOT affiliated with Casio in any way – except as a happy customer.

    1. 1. Short Battery life – same tired anti-electric car excuse. You _need_ a watch to run for years? Or want it to / are used it to it? As long as the life is long enough to fit unobtrusively into a nice lifestyle cadence, it’s good enough. The Pebble battery lasted long enough to fit all but the most diehard of range-aphobic users.

      2. No user replaceable battery – yeah, that’s a bit of a pain, but sadly there’s enough other software/firmware obsolescence going on that we should let that argument fade graciously into the night.

      3. E-ink consuming too much power for 1Hz refresh – are you a nurse taking pulse readings? or athlete timing 100m dashes? the seconds on a screen are overrated. Grab an app to enable them when you really need them. Otherwise relax. Seriously – look at how many analog watches don’t even have a second hand….

      4. No Std watch band. The pebble is the first watch I’ve owned in a long time WITH a std watch band. https://help.getpebble.com/customer/portal/articles/1427676-changing-watchstraps

      5. Spying on us. Fair enough. Do make sure you’ve hardened your smartphone. Heck, do not even carry a ‘dumb’ phone.

      The Casio blah blah blah doesn’t tell me why my phone is trying to get my attention. I mean, it’s a nice looking watch, just don’t forget to change the time twice a year and the day every other month, and carry a flashlight to read it at night…

      1. “same tired anti-electric car excuse”
        I know this is OT, but I will NEVER, NEVER buy an electric car. Neither will MILLIONS of Americans. No chemical battery is going to have the 46 MJ/kg of energy density of gasoline (vs <1 MJ/kg for Li-ion). Ever. It's time to get over it.

        Back on topic battery life is my PRIMARY reason for not owning a "smart watch" of any kind. Anything I need in a watch is satisfied by my Casio W-735H, the battery of which I replace once a year on my birthday. But I could go several years without replacement, if I didn't use the vibration alarm every day like I do.

          1. Check the slope on battery improvement and see where it hits gasoline both in mass/energy and refuel time.

            Unless someone works out a usable element for batteries earlier in the periodic table than lithium, there’s a roadblock coming.

        1. Backwoods or backwards? That prediction is foolish. Millions of Americans are not making purchasing decisions based on energy density. They are making purchasing decisions on many other things, among them may be perceived range anxiety. TCO for electric cars will continue to improve over time, other benefits of electric cars will displace perceived range anxiety. Most of you outspoken ad stubborn curmudgeons will quietly acquiesce and those who do not will continue to make your insufferable opinions known, but we will tolerate them because you of course will be paying for the priviledge.

          1. Well, you can’t spend all day blowing out candles, and if his watch battery needs changing once a year, it’s an easy way to remember it. I’m sure that’s not his primary birthday activity.

        2. “No chemical battery is going to have the 46 MJ/kg of energy density of gasoline (vs <1 MJ/kg for Li-ion)"

          And what is the best efficiency we can expect to get out of a combustion engine to get that 46MJ/kg to the ground? My understanding is a gas automobile 30% efficient. At 13.8 MJ/kg, I guess electric is still not close, but perhaps it is wise to compare the "carriable energy transmitted to the ground"/kg or something. Even that is a weird way to make a decision on a vehicle.

          My tipping point will be if I can own a vehicle that covers 90% of my use cases in a way that total cost of ownership is lower than a gasoline vehicle of the same class. It doesn't have to be my only vehicle.

        3. I would like to get an electric car, if one with a range of more than 400 to 500 km is comparable in price to a gasoline powered one (somehow accounting for the reduced operating costs, but much cheaper then a Tesla Mod. S today).
          The torque of the electric motor is really nice (if it is not undersized).

      2. The main things that divide smart watch vs regular watch wearers:
        1. Is telling time the most important thing a watch should do?
        2. Are you looking to simplify your busy life or are you looking to better manage it?

      3. 1.) No I don’t really need it. But I like it very much, that I do not have to charge the battery of may watch. It is solar powered. OK, it is not very smart, has some sensors (compass, altitude, temp) but no connectivity.
        2.) That is acceptable if it lasts for MANY years. I don’t even know exactly how long I have may watch.
        3.) It is enough that I just WANT to have the seconds displayed. The argument with the analog watches is invalid, as there are even some without numbers on the dial. Pure ornamental, often expensive but nearly useless devices. But I don’t like analog watches/clocks anyway. It takes too long to read, I am way faster with the digital display.

        Fortunately my Casio has an EL backlight, so I don’t need a flashlight to read it.

    2. I wore a plain Timex Indiglo watch for a decade, and bought a second one when the battery in the first died at the end of that decade. (I’d rather have not had the backlight, but Timex wasn’t making any watches without it.)

      Only reason I bought a new one was because something broke in the backlight switch. It would only work after pulling the stem out to the set position then pushing it in. Any twist of the stem made a *click* sound and the light wouldn’t work. If that hadn’t broke I would have just put a new battery in it.

      So I bought a new Timex like the previous one, it tells the time and that’s all. I wore it until I got a cellphone. Then it sat unused until its battery died at around 10 years old.

      1. You write, you would like to have it without the backlight. I thought Indiglo is the backlight feature. And as you write that the backlight broke and therefore you bought a new watch, it is somehow inconsistent.

  5. Ever think of pebble as the best smartwatch ever, thou never bought one personally due to the high prices (I’m in Brazil). Sad to know the company is almost dead before I can get a Pebble Watch…

  6. There’s much grumbling in the Pebble community about whether the Time 2 will ever actually be released. They’ve taken a lot of orders on Kickstarter for it, but who knows if FitBit are going to bother honouring those (Kickstarter is a pledge that should net you a reward, not an order for a product).

  7. I’m blown away. I love my pebble time. it makes a smartphone smart. the increase in efficiency is unimaginable to people who haven’t and/or wont give it an honest try. mine doesn’t hold battery for more than one day but I still love it. I think it could stab me a little once a day and I’d still wear it. I operate a mobile dog grooming business so 10 times a day I was a dog and I wear the watch every time (it controls my entire entertainment system in grooming unit). I spcifically spray it with hard jets of water to get soap and dog hair off it, never once an issue. just amazing.

    People who say ” oh you shouldn’t look at your phone so much”, this is the solution, not more problems.

    I was gonna order a time2 for wife (who has a fitbit built like crap) and one for me once mine dies. I wish it would have shipped before holidays.

    Fitbit on the other hand is junk. my wife has replaced hers 3 times since she got it around same time as me. it isn’t even water risitant so she has never gotten it wet. what a joke.

    R.I.P. usable tech. Please someone let me know when the new geniuses show up

    1. It never happened on my first Pebble Classic, but twice now my Pebble 2 has gone into “high battery consumption” rate where it was consuming 10% per hour. Going into the setup on the watch and doing a factory reset immediately solved the problem. I get roughly 15% per day using the “STD2” watch face (no seconds) and numerous vibration alerts from calendar and email per day. Give it a try!

  8. There is an update that pebble are putting out early this week. Would be prudent to wait for official information before it’s declared dead. Call me an optimist, but I’m hopeful there is something happening.

    There are too many hypotheticals for my liking in this leak.

    Also pebble rocks. I’ve tried other watches but this fits the mark perfectly for me. Tells the time and stays the hell out of the way

  9. Got a pebble steel second hand, registered it with a fake email i.e. nobodyimportant@nowherelandismification.net.
    It worked fine as a watch and a few basic features, didn’t need the internet connection except for updating the time.
    Wanted to update the time again and the watch wiped off the apps. The phone side app wouldn’t install anything, tried alsorts then considered the watch bricked.
    Well the fishes can have the time instead.

    Ok just another bad experience with some hardware.

  10. Not a hack. ©

    Really, I know you don’t do paid articles, but that’s still too much of an ad; a fanboy doing ads for free.
    I think those kind of articles would be ok if you didn’t select products based on the company they are from (if it weren’t an ad). It would still be boring, thou.

  11. A few days ago my pebble original just stopped showing graphics. Blank screen, yet I can hear it beeping & buzzing as it goes through the actions. Is this to do with what’s going on with the company, or just a natural death? Can someone tell me?

  12. That is sad news indeed I picked up a secondhand pebble classic a few months back as a trial into the smart watch world – I was sceptical but intrigued and have found the device quit useful – I charge it each day not because I have to but because I take it off before bed and sit in a charging dock – so unless your out bush for a week the battery life is quiet acceptable.

    I have had 2 fit bits – and frankly they were a waste of time to even open the packaging onefailed after only a month and provided little more information than a mechanical pedometer.

  13. Also, Motorola said they had no plans to make a watch using the next generation of Google’s watch platform.
    The smart watch market as a whole declined in shipments pretty quickly too.

    Add to that the fact that IoT is often an unfixable vector for botnet activity, we need to be smarter about what and how we stuff network electronics into things.

  14. I was one of the first people to successfully implement the smartstrap library; I was also one of the winners of the hackathon that Alasdair mentioned:

    https://www.hackster.io/hackathons/pebble-rocks-boulder/a-pebble-hackathon/projects

    and corresponded with him during the event. I’ve continued to enjoy smartstrap development and built all sorts of silly things, e.g.:

    http://ishotjr.github.io/2015/11/29/pw-dos-touchscreen-keyboard-pebble-smartstrap.html

    I’ve backed every single smartstrap Kickstarter, and developed a wiki for the RePhone smartstrap mentioned above, which is a great way to get started with smartstraps:

    https://github.com/ishotjr/rephone-smartstrap/wiki

    We’re still waiting for an official announcement from Pebble, but that has no bearing on anyone’s ability to hack on the device. Maybe no new mass-market smartstraps will appear at this point, but it’s still a blast to create some wacky wrist-mounted sensor pile, and I’d be more than happy to help anyone who’s interested in doing so get started. Don’t stop hacking on something just because someone tells you it’s “obsolete”. Smartstrap dev will continue to be a thing until my last Pebble is pried from my cold dead wrist… :D

  15. Pebble was very hacker friendly when they started but sadly they quickly adopted some “Apple like” choices that were pretty annoying, like forcing users to always upgrade to the last firmware. I don’t blame them to try to make money, but we had a divergence of opinion about who should choose what my watch can do. TLDR, I wanted a wrist computer and they try to become an appliance. I wrote a few apps for them, but today I have no easy way to upgrade them for supporting the pebble 2 without screwing my users which didn’t want to use timeline on legacy Pebbles, so I stopped doing this completely, which is a shame since their sdk was very fun to use :o(

  16. Sad news for those using these as medical devices, for a few different purposes. The round is the first “smartwatch” that isn’t oversize. I can live with a watch that has ~24 hour battery life, no less. More frequent than that and it gets ridiculous.
    Well, we hopefully have a couple of years until the supply dries up, and we’ll see what future programmable watch options become available.

  17. Just got my Pebble 2 a few weeks ago. Glad I made it under the wire, but so bummed that it now has no future.

    I don’t think they sold their value proposition well enough. It saves me pulling my phone from my pocket dozens of times a day for some unimportant notification (and kudos to the Notification Center app developer for the intelligent notification handling). A quick glance at my wrist and I know whether I need to respond now to a call/text/email/whatever, or can leave it to later, or ignore it completely. That plus a screen you can see in the sun, decent battery life, heart rate monitor, and bonus info like current weather.

  18. I think a lot of people are missing what made the pebble great. It gets about a week of battery life, is waterproof (not just splash resistant) and has a screen which is readable in nearly all conditions.
    It doesn’t try and duplicate as many features of your phone as possible, it simply makes digging your phone out of your pocket less necessary at inconvenient times. While I’m out biking, a simple glance at my watch will tell me that if the incoming call/sms is something I need to pull over and answer, or can wait a few minutes for me to get to wherever I’m going.
    The days of stopping my bike and digging out my phone just to find that it’s just a telemarketer are over.

    The problem with all the other watches is that you need to charge them daily (especially funny for ones with sleep tracking), they’re harder to read in bright sunlight, have touch screens, etc. and cost twice as much.

    For my purposes, they’re worse at everything, and twice the price. If I really need a touch screen interface, it’s probably a complicated enough task to justify just pulling my phone out.

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