Pebble Time is the new name for the brand new smart watch from the Silicon Valley startup and it has been officially unveiled today. It’s not anything like modern Android Wear watches, that’s for sure, but it’s something that might interest those who like Gameboys and other retro things. The Pebble Time is a modest smart watch that doesn’t focus as much on design and appearance as other watches currently on the market, emphasizing function, practicality and battery life instead, which can’t be a bad combination for a wearable device.
The Pebble Time isn’t that much different from the Pebble or Pebble Steel, but it does get an upgraded color e-paper LCD display. It has only 64 colors and a resolution you won’t be impressed by, but that’s what makes the watch have a great battery life. As you probably now, Android Wear watches like the Moto 360 or the LG G Watch R don’t really last more than a day or two on a single charge, which is something most tech enthusiasts frown upon and it’s also one of the main reasons why wearable technology just hasn’t kicked it off just yet.
The Pebble Time will last a full week on a single charge, which is quite the feat for a smart watch that has an always-on display. Imagine using the Moto 360 with Ambient Display or always on; in a couple of hours its battery would be depleted. Just saying. Now that doesn’t mean that the watch is the most innovative thing we’ve ever seen. Its resolution is sub-par and the new iteration from the company, even though it has a microphone and offers voice control features, they are limited at the moment. But it can do two of the most important things you might want to do with your voice on a watch: record notes and reply to messages. Thus far, we’re not too impressed, but we like it. The software bit is more interesting, though, but in the meantime, check out the video.
What’s more, the Pebble Time benefits from a completely new software platform the company, with the help of the team behind WebOS has developed. The focus has been shifted towards a timeline view of notifications, so Pebble users will be able to easily access all the relevant information in a timely fashion (intended). Within the timeline that the Pebble shows you, app developers will be able to inject information without having to create a native application, which means that you can get flight, stock, sports and other information pushed directly to the Pebble Time with no issues and no added app installs. At the same time, the new watch will let you install as many apps as you like, as the limitations of previous versions have been bypassed by the new software layout: timeline.
The problem with the software is that developers actually need to take interest in developing based on the Pebble Time API that has been made available. If developers and hardware manufacturers are not interest, support for the watch will dwindle. Since I’ve mentioned hardware, I should mention that Pebble wants to make the Time a wearable platform, as it wishes developers to tap into the Bluetooth LE radio within to connect other wearables and devices to the watch, which is a very neat idea. That would mean a smart car would be able to push notifications without a problem, as would some headsets, a phone, home automation systems and more. It’s an interesting concept, but it remains to be seen whether developers will be of the same opinion. According to Pebble, Jawbone, The Weather Channel, Tripcase and more are already on board with the Pebble Time, so more are sure to come.
The Pebble Time is priced at $200 a pop, which is not too expensive for a smart watch, although it isn’t the cheapest one on the market when it comes to bang for buck. Still, it’s a cheap alternative to the upcoming Apple Watch and to the already popular Moto 360 and LG G Watch R. Even though its design isn’t very neat or sassy, it offers an easy-to-use software system that will most likely spark attention among wearable enthusiasts and tech enthusiasts as a whole, too. The Pebble Time can be ordered from Kickstarter (we know, it’s a bit weird to launch it there), but shipping isn’t expected to begin before May 2015. Until then, though, Pebble promised to announce more and more features coming to the Pebble Time as well as to the older models the company is still selling. The Pebble Time has already reached its funding goal after a few hours.