Pebble announced a new version of its smartwatch on Tuesday. The company is bracing for some heavy competition with the arrival of the Apple Watch in early April. Pebble Time is the first smartwatch that was launched on Kickstarter in 2012 with a color screen. Even though it doesn’t have the LCD or OLED displays of its rivals, Apple and Samsung, it does come with a color e-paper screen.
Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky says that using e-paper allows the smartwatch to maintain its key features such as displaying the time and remaining visible under direct sunlight.
“They seem a lot like smartphones on your wrist, but they don’t really make for useful watches. We knew that before we did anything, we had to make a really damn good watch.”
Migicovsky also remarked that the Pebble Time’s color screen also won’t hurt the watch’s battery life. It has the same 7-day life cycle as the original Pebble and Pebble Steel. This smartwatch is also 20 percent thinner than the original Pebble, and includes a quick-release mechanism that allows the user to quickly change watch bands, USA Today reports. The interchangeable rubber band gives the watch more of a casual feel rather than a high-tech or luxury feel. The Pebble Time’s display is also covered in durable Gorilla Glass, with a stainless steel bezel.
Users can also pre-record messages for quick responses to notifications, such as text messages and emails.
“We’ve tried to build something that’s intensely reliable and consistent. We didn’t want to make something that you speak into and it has to guess what you’re saying, or it gets it wrong and you have to constantly repeat yourself, because at the end of the day, you might as well pull out your phone at that point.”
In addition to a new look and new features, the Pebble Time will also have a new OS that will allow you to control your app and message notifications. That means you’ll see the text message you just received on the screen before you see a game score from the ESPN app. Users have complete control over how they want to receive and view their notifications. You can also scroll through your previous messages and notifications on your Pebble Time.
The Pebble Time went on sale Tuesday morning and is expected to ship out in May. It will cost between $159 and $199 – depending on when you purchase the smartwatch. Rather than selling the Time on the Pebble website or through its 15,000 retail partners, the company plans to launch a 31-day Kickstarter campaign to “tell the story” of this new watch and attract its hardcore Pebble fans.
In just 49 minutes, the Pebble Time has already raised $1 million. It’s ahead of the previous record holder, Reaper Miniature Bones, the gaming miniatures project, which raised $1 million in two hours, 42 minutes. The Pebble Time then hit $4 million less than three hours after going live on the Kickstarter at 10 a.m. EST Tuesday. Pebble had originally set a funding goal of just $500,000, according to Entrepreneur.com.
Are you excited about the new Pebble Time smartwatch?
[Image: Scott Woods-Fehr]