Pebble Time Smartwatch Smashes Kickstarter Goal After 17 Minutes

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Pebble Time adds colour e-ink screen, has longer battery life and comes with a microphone

The makers of the Pebble smartwatch, one of the most successful crowdfunded projects in history, have returned to Kickstarter to raise money to produce the device’s successor, the Pebble Time.

The original Pebble raised more than $10m on the platform and more than one million units have been shipped. However despite the success of the Pebble and the Pebble Steel, Pebble Technologies says it was keen to employ a similar model with its latest smartwatch.

Kickstarter return

Pebble Time 1“Pebble was brought to life by 68,929 backers who supported our vision three years ago,” said the company, explaining why it was using Kickstarter to generate funding despite the success of the Pebble and Pebble Steel.

“Even though we’ve grown tremendously since then, we’re still a small company battling some of the largest competitors in the world. We believe that this is the best and most efficient way for us to get our latest product to the people who want it most: people like you.”

A modest target of $500,000 was reached within 17 minutes of the campaign going live and at the time of writing, the project had attracted nearly 19,000 backers pledging a combined $3,856,490. The campaign still has 31 days to run, meaning it is possible the amount raised by the original project could be eclipsed.

The most notable additions to the Pebble Time are the addition of a colour e-ink display and a new operating system which organises notifications chronologically. The device is also 20 percent thinner than its predecessor and can use any standard 22m watch band.

Features

Pebble says the use of an e-ink display allows the battery to last for seven days and although the device is compatible with all existing 6,500 applications, it hopes developers will make use of the new display with Colour APIs.

The operating system has had a refresh and now displays events depending on the time of day, rather than hidden in applications. Most events can be accessed with a few clicks and Pebble is encouraging the creation of ‘glanceable’ apps that require no physical input to access information.

The smartwatch also comes with a microphone that can be used for dictation or to interact with notifications. The feature is compatible with most Android apps, but only works with Gmail on iOs at the moment, but Pebble says it is working to add support for more apps.

Availability

The Pebble Time works with Android smartphones running version 4.0 or later and iPhones running iOS 8 or above.

Those who back the Kickstarter campaign will receive a Pebble Time for $159, with devices shipped in May. Other Kickstarter packages are available with additional benefits or more units, while those who backed the original campaign will receive an “extra-special engraving.”

The campaign closes on 27 March and it is expected that the Pebble Time will be available to the general public for $199 later this year.

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