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Pebble shows Apple, Google it knows what smartwatch buyers really want

It helps that Pebble entered the smartwatch game sooner than its competitors, which now number in the dozens. OEMs all over the world are building Android Wear devices, Samsung has a family of its own Tizen-powered smartwatches, and the Apple Watch is just over the horizon. But Pebble seems to understand one thing more than any of these smartwatch makers, do: Battery life matters to consumers.

With an Android Wear device, you’ll be lucky to get even two days of usage, and that’s with ambient display turned off. Samsung’s smartwatches sometimes last a bit longer, thanks to Tizen, but it really depends on the model. And rumor has it the Apple Watch won’t even get more than a full day of usage, if it even lasts that long. Pebble just introduced the Pebble Time, and it showed that, for smarwatch fans, it understands just how important time actually is.

The new model promises up to 7 days of battery life. 7 days! That’s far more than anything else you’ll get from a major smartphone maker. But it’s extremely important to offer that kind of battery life, I’ve found, if you want your customers to actually wear the product you’re selling them. I love the Microsoft Band, the Moto 360, the G Watch R and plenty of other devices available right now, but they ultimately end up collecting dust on my bedside table. Why? Because I forget to charge it one day, it dies, it becomes a useless bit of junk sitting on my wrist, and I take it off.

It brings me back to a bit of research that I’ve quoted before. Last year, Endeavor Partners published a report that found that more than half of U.S. consumers who already own a wearable no longer wear it. That’s because of a lack of engagement, which obviously becomes non-existent when the battery is dead. In fact, Endeavor Partners said that OEMs, like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Pebble, need to show consumers why they should be using a wearable. Google, with Android Wear, and Apple with its Apple Watch, seem to be focused more on adding features. The problem is, those features are useless when the screen goes dark halfway through the day.

Pebble seems to understand this, and there’s clearly demand for its new products. The firm’s $500,000 Kickstarter goal was backed in less than 20 minutes, on the conservative side, and within the hour hit $2,000,000. Consumers want battery life before anything else on a wearable.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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