10 reasons to pre-order a Pebble smartwatch
Pebble – the smartwatch that beat every Kickstarter record going and snuck onto our 2012 Cool List. If you missed out on parting with your cash the first time round, here's how to bag a geek watch of your very own – and exactly what you'll be able to do with it.
Keep an eye on the house with Twine
Rahul Bhagat, one of the Design Engineers working on Pebble, says his favourite app so far is the partnership with Twine, an internet-enabled sensor box that you can leave at home to get notifications straight to your smartwatch.
We named the "Thingternet" as a Cool List 2012 trend – because soon we'll be remotely checking and tweaking everything at home from the heating and air conditioning to when the washing's done. Let's hope some other little boxes, like Ninja Blocks and Electric Imp, join in the fun – according to Bhagat, there are "limitless possibilities".
Develop your own app
Fresh from showing off hardware at Google's I/O, Pebble Technology is hoping to get people creating apps now in time for everyone getting their smartwatches through the post this autumn.
"It's our attempt to engage the developer community by showing off prototypes. We want to have a more fleshed out app marketplace when the watch actually gets to our consumers," the engineer says. "Apps are becoming our primary focus – until now we've been focusing on making the 100,000 units we sold."
Help to crowdsource the Pebble design this month
Bhagat assured us that Pebble Technology would carry on letting its backers influence everything about the Pebble watch – it's already added Bluetooth 4 and water resistance after Kickstarter fans asked for those features.
So "in the next few weeks" (read: sometime in July) Pebble Technology is deciding on the fourth colour option – to join white, black and red – by asking its Kickstarter followers to vote for their favourite.
UPDATE: You can now vote on the colour of the watch body here until 21 July, if you backed the Kickstarter project. Our money's on 'Y U NO HAVE PINK'.
Do battle with anyone wearing a cookoo watch
Peter Hauser's cookoo watch has just passed the US$300,000 mark on Kickstarter – and for the makers of Pebble, it just means more people getting used to the idea of wearing a smartwatch.
But Pebble Technology isn't sweating over rival watch upstarts too much: "We're really glad they're around. cookoo is an analogue watchface with a little notification icon and that's something that's been done before," says Bhagat. "We think we have something good going with the customisation on Pebble."
Get fit with RunKeeper
Combine your phone's GPS and fitness app skills with the Pebble hardware and you can say goodbye to spending hundreds of pounds on a fancy sports watch. RunKeeper is already officially on board with Pebble, so we'll soon be tracking our workouts and cycles via our iPhones and Android handsets. Pebble Technology has no plans to support BlackBerry or Windows Phone for now but it's something the company's "keeping an eye on".
Pump up the volume
If you've experimented with accessories to control your smartphone's music library on cold, wintry mornings Pebble could be the last. The Kickstarter page promised remote tunage control straight from the watch and it's one of the features that has our gadget-senses tingling.
Golf with FreeCaddie
Another app that's boldly pledged allegiance to Pebble before the watch is even finalised is FreeCaddie, a golf rangefinder app which displays the distance to your nearest course, for those golfing emergencies.
Never miss a tweet
The team's original inPulse watch for BlackBerry (and some Android phones) supported caller ID, SMS, calendar alerts and after an update, Twitter alerts. Under the name of Allerta, they only sold around 1700 to 2000 units of the inPulse but Bhagat reckons they learnt a lot from its first attempt.
"People were complaining that the 24 hour battery life on inPulse wasn't enough so we're really happy to get 7+ days with Pebble," he says. "We also tried to minimise cost as much as possible with Pebble. And for outdoor readability, we have an e-paper display that's really brilliant."
Change your watchface to suit your mood
One thing people did do with inPulse was make custom watchfaces – and with Pebble, you'll be able to create retro or video game inspired faces, even if your app developing skills aren't quite up to scratch.
Bhagat's keeping schtum on the exact UI of the Pebble though: "there will be multiple apps on the Pebble at one time but we're still working on the specifics. Right now we're laying down the core OS and we've started the basic UI work."
The sooner you pre-order, the sooner your Pebble comes
Pebble Technology says it's first come, first served now if you missed out on pre-ordering a Pebble smartwatch on Kickstarter. Go to getpebble.com and you can pre-order without paying upfront, though the price will be US$150, for all of the colours, when Pebble's second production run kicks off in early 2013.