Tech of the Week: Talk to the hand! The smartwatch that broke Kickstarter, again
The wearables market is seeing some fierce competition this year, with the imminent release of the Apple Watch and a plethora of offerings from other major tech companies.
But early adopters will remember the smartwatch that started the craze: the Pebble. Back in 2012, techies everywhere gushed about the simplicity of the device, and how it was going to revolutionise the wearables industry. It managed to become the highest crowdfunded project with a record US$10.2 million (NZ$13.5m), until the Coolest Cooler knocked it off its throne.
Now, it’s back with a recently finished Kickstarter campaign that blew the water cooler away with a whopping US$20,336,930 (NZ$26.97m) collected from 78,463 people.
It’s the next generation smartwatch from Pebble Technology, with a 20% thinner design at just 9.5mm thick, a coloured e-paper display, and microphone for voice replies and notes.
A new interface is designed around a timeline – similar to what is currently found in Google Now in Android Wear, and will be retrofitted to the original Pebble and Pebble Steel.
It’s also waterproof, and carries a battery that will list up to 7 days, or with its more expensive sibling, the Pebble Time Steel, up to 10 days.
They watches are compatible with the existing 6,500+ apps and watchfaces, and the watchband can be switched out with any other 22mm band on the market.
A newly released platform called “Smartstraps” will allow developers to create new third-party straps that can connect to a new accessory port on the back. The port means developers can augment the Pebble with additional functions such as GPS, heart-rate monitor, or more battery life.
Developers will also be able to tap into the Bluetooth LE radio inside the Pebble, allowing it to become a hub for your wearables, triggering functions in other devices.
Head here for more information on getting one when it comes out.