The Pebble is a new smartwatch with an e-paper display that links via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android handset. It’s the latest attempt to integrate the kind of smart functions normally found in a phone into something fashionable and wearable on your wrist.
So far, so good. But what makes this project more interesting is that it’s raising its money through Kickstarter, the web-based “crowd funding” site where anyone can become an investor in a creative project for a relatively small sum.
The Pebble uses Kindle-style e-paper for a customisable 144×168 pixel always-on display readable in daylight and with a backlight for nighttime. It is coated with a scratch and shatter resistant lens. The watch has a vibrating alarm and a three-axis accelerometer, which can be used for various applications such as cycling, golfing or running.
When linked to a phone by Bluetooth, Pebble will also provide caller ID, music playback remote control, Twitter and Facebook updates plus email, calendar and weather alerts. Battery life is said to be seven days, recharged via USB.
Since debuting on Kickstarter on 11 April the Pebble project raised its goal of $100,000 in pledges after just two hours. A day later and that total had exceeded $720,000 raised from more than 5,300 backers – and rising fast.
Those who pledge a certain amount will be sent one or more of the Pebble watches, which are expected to ship in September.
The current minimum pledge to get yourself one Pebble is $115 (approximately £72) for a jet black version or $125 (£78) for red or white colours. You can give less but that won’t secure you a watch. Give more and you can receive extra Pebbles at a discount.
The creators, Pebble Technology, are based in Palo Alto, California. Postage within the US is free but $15 (£9) is required for international delivery, and you can expect import duty to be charged on top of that.
Pebble Technology says it has been working on smartwatches for three years and has a fully functioning prototype of this latest version. The Kickstarter funding will be used for bulk ordering components, production tooling and the global Bluetooth certification process.
With large corporations such as Sony laying off thousands of staff and smaller enterprises finding it hard to get bank loans, this is an innovative and obviously successful way to fund a new venture.
Pebble Technology on Kickstarter