Closing in on US$20 million with more than a week left to go, the Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble Time is still going strong. And Pebble hopes to push a little more interest by spending some of its funds on innovative accessories.
Rather than overload the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel with a ton of sensors and extended functionality, which would drive up the price (and probably bulk), the company decided to implement smartstraps: easily swappable straps with built-in modules that add useful features.
It’s an open platform, and it doesn’t sound like Pebble plans to make the straps itself - but the company doesn’t mind funding others that want to help make the Pebble Time even cooler. To that end, Pebble has announced a US$1 million fund to help bring those proposed projects to life.
Keeping with its crowdfunded tradition, Pebble encourages creators to get together teams and prototypes and put their projects up on Kickstarter or other services. Pebble will keep an eye on the latest and greatest launches and spend its money as it sees fit, with an eye to bring the most useful and innovative straps to market.
“We truly understand the value of backing projects in their early state, having started that way ourselves,” reads the Kickstarter update that announced the news. “From there, we expect many projects to evolve into products fit for wider release.”
Seeed Studio has already announced plans for a Pebble Time adapter for its Arduino-compatible Xadow strap modules, which offer things like GPS modules, NFC readers, and apparently also an upcoming heart rate monitor.
Meanwhile, the Spark Electron - which itself has earned nearly US$400,000 on Kickstarter with its ongoing campaign - could conceptually be used to connect the Pebble Time to a cellular network and untether it from a smartphone. That’s just a hacked-together demo above, of course; nobody actually expects you to wear a bunch of exposed wires around your wrist to get sport scores and email previews.
If the experimental nature of Pebble’s smartstrap platform has caught your ear, it sounds like there are a lot of possibilities ahead. We’ll be keeping an eye on all of this in the run-up to the Pebble Time’s release in the coming months.