The big boys have arguably stalled - but Pebble keeps cracking on with simple devices that have long battery lives
A couple of years back you could have been forgiven for thinking that the smartwatch was going to be the next smartphone, or at least the next iPad. The hype over the Apple Watch and its Android competitors was huge. The reality, though, was less immediate than predicted. Yes, smartwatches are selling, but a lot are being left in drawers as well, with no one’s willing to talk about the number of devices in active use.
That won’t bother Pebble though, whose simple-to-use designs with long battery lives have built a dedicated core of users who are happy to buy the latest model when it’s released. Today, the smartwatch Kickstarter supremo, has just announced its latest pair of devices – the Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2.
The big change is that Pebble is taking a step into the fitness market. The latest devices include heart-rate monitors, activity trackers and are water resistant to 30m. That means whether you just want to track your steps, or do something a little more strenuous, or even go for a swim, the new Pebble devices should be up to the task.
Support for popular fitness services looks to be underway, Runkeeper, Strava, Under Armour Record and MapMyRun are all going to be supported. More importantly still, the new Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 will support Google Fit, which is Google’s effort to allow all fitness apps to share data across a common platform, so inter-app compatibility becomes a problem of the past and your fitness tracker can talk to your food tracker and that can talk to your smart scales, all seamlessly.
What we really liked about Pebble devices to date was their relative simplicity. They did what most people wanted, which is provide notifications and alerts on your wrist, without being overstuffed with features you never used. Adding fitness to the mix shouldn’t spoil this, as it should largely tick away in the background without getting in the way of the immediacy of the Pebble interface.
Both devices feature e-paper displays and the multi-day battery lives that go with those. And with prices starting from just $99 dollars for Pebble 2 and $169 for Pebble Time 2, if you’re quick on Kickstarter, these should do well. The Pebble 2 will ship in September and the Time 2 in November, though, so don’t expect your new watch any time soon.