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.

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A Gramophone For Your Pebble Smart Watch

At a recent Pebble-themed hackathon, one of the teams created a pretty cool device called the TimeDock Sleepeasy.

It’s a gramophone inspired docking station for your Pebble Time smart watch. And it’s not just a 3D printed mount — nope, there’s an Arduino inside! The team’s plan from the beginning was to make an interactive docking station for the Pebble that would allow it to talk to you without actually pressing any buttons on the watch.

It was rather tricky getting the Arduino Uno talking to the Pebble, but once they figured it out they had a lot of options for interaction — they ended up using an ultrasound sensor so you can just wave your hand at the TimeDock and it would tell you the time.

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