Pebble on Tuesday announced the Pebble Time, a brand new smartwatch that you can now back on Kickstarter.
It's basically like a Pebble 2.0, the second full iteration of the company's platform (following the Pebble and the Pebble Steel, which was an aesthetic upgrade). It offers plenty of amazing new features that we suspect customers will love by the time it hits the market this May.
We decided to dig through a few of those features to pick out our favorites, some of the ones that stand out against the competition or against the earlier version of the Pebble. Let's take a look at some of what makes this watch special, and why our own Sean Aune has already decided to back it.
1. Color e-Paper display
Finally! We love the current Pebble models, but it's about time that the company starts to implement some of the newer technology on the market. The Pebble Time features a color e-paper display, which means you get all of the battery benefits of e-paper but with a bit of the liveliness offered with color. That means you'll be able to customize the watch with even more unique watchfaces, and will be able to view things like the weather, news, alerts and more all in beautiful color. It's a good move on Pebble's part, too, as consumers will likely begin to expect color watchfaces thanks to Android Wear and the Apple Watch.
2. Supports all Pebble apps
Pebble has always been great at supporting developers, which is why its app store is teeming with content available for Pebble owners. The company rightly added backward compatibility with all of its existing apps and watchfaces, of which there are now more than 6,5000 available. Hopefully the company makes it easy to transfer all of your content over from an older Pebble to a newer one, but you should be able to find all of your existing apps by logging right into the app store.
3. Amazing battery life
The problem with Android Wear, and what we're hearing about the Apple Watch, is that battery life is a huge concern. Most smartwatches get maybe two days of battery life, at best. Pebble has always stood out against the crowd with its fantastic battery life, and that's going to continue with the Pebble Time. The firm said on its Kickstarter page that the Pebble Time will offer up to 7 days of battery life out of the box. That remains true despite the always-on display and included backlight. Finally, a color screen smartwatch we won't need to charge every night.
4. Easy to customize
You can customize Android Wear devices fairly easily, though sometimes it's a bit hard to get the bands to work with the industrial design of some models. Pebble is using a 22mm watchband on the Pebble Time, the same size it used on earlier models, and promises that it's going to be just as simple to swap out its bands for your own. "All new Pebble watch bands include a quick-release pin, letting you swap bands in under 10 seconds," Pebble explained on its Kickstarter page. "Now it's super easy to find the perfect style for you!" The unit is water resistant, however, so you might want to add a band that's just as strong.
5. Built-in microphone
We're probably most excited for this feature. The Pebble Time features a built-in microphone that you can use to respond to messages and alerts via voice. We're going to need to see how developers take advantage of this tool, but expect to be able to find directions, order a cab, respond to text messages, set your alarm and much more, all using your voice. We've found this particularly useful on Android Wear, which allows you to do the same thing without having to pull out your smartphone. Pebble says, out of the box, voice replies will work with "most Android apps" including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and "hundreds more." It said that iOS users are currently only limited to Gmail notifications but that it's working to expand that functionality.
The Pebble Time looks like the best Pebble yet, and we can't wait to check it out. It's no wonder the company blew past its $500,000 Kickstarter goal in a matter of minutes. We hope to check one out as soon as possible, perhaps during Mobile World Congress next week, and we'll report back with our thoughts on the unit as soon as we do. Want to pick one up in the meantime? Hit the source below to back the project.