Pebble (watch)

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Pebble Smartwatch
Pebble logo.svg
Pebble watch trio group 04.png
Also known as Pebble
Developer Pebble Technology, Corp., Pebble Devices, Corp in California.[1]
Manufacturer Foxlink Group in Taiwan[2]
Type Smartwatch
Generation 3 (Pebble Time)
Introductory price Kickstarter backers: US$115
Pre-orders: $150
Retail: $99[3]
Pebble Steel: $199
Pebble Time: $199
Pebble Time Steel: $250 (Kickstarter) and $299 (MSRP)
Units sold Over 1,000,000 as of December 2014[4]
Operating system

Pebble OS; uses a customized FreeRTOS kernel[5][6] Can communicate with Android and iOS apps using Bluetooth. Portions of Pebble OS are closed source.[7]

Latest Version: 2.9.1
CPU STM32F205RE Cortex M3 CPU
Memory RAM 128 KB (84 KB OS, 24 KB app, 12 KB background worker, 8 KB app services)[8]
Storage 8 slots for apps/watch faces, 100 KB per slot for a total of 800 KB user accessible space.
The Kickstarter version has 4 MiB (32 Mibit) flash.[9][10] Originals built after October 2013 and all Steel watches have 8 MiB (64 Mibit) flash.[11][12][13]
All models also have 512 KiB SoC flash memory
Display 144×168 pixel Sharp Memory LCD "e-paper"[14][15]
Graphics 1-bit
Sound None
Input 4 buttons
3-axis accelerometer with gesture detection
magnetometer and ambient light sensor[5]
Camera None
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1 (default), 4.0 LE (used for iOS 7 notifications) + EDR
Power 130 mAh, 7 days (assuming ~20–30 notifications a day, and a per-minute updating watchface)
Dimensions Pebble: 52 × 36 × 11.5 mm (2.05 × 1.42 × 0.45 in),[16]
Pebble Steel: 46 × 34 × 10.5 mm (1.81 × 1.34 × 0.41 in)
Weight Pebble: 38 g (1.34 oz),
Pebble Steel: 56 g (1.97 oz) (with default watchband attached)
Backward
compatibility
Android, iOS
Successor Pebble Steel, Pebble Time
Website getpebble.com

The Pebble Smartwatch is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation[17] and released in 2013 that received the majority of its initial funding via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The watch features a black and white Sharp Memory LCD, a programmable CPU, memory, storage, Bluetooth, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, an ambient light sensor, and an accelerometer; these extend its use beyond just displaying the time and into many roles including interacting with smartphone notifications, activity tracking, gaming, map display, golf tracking, and more. The Pebble is compatible with Android and iOS devices. When connected to one of these devices via Bluetooth, it will vibrate and display text messages, emails, incoming calls, and notifications from social media accounts when they are received on the paired device. It can also act as a remote control for the phone, or for cameras such as the GoPro. As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1,000 applications developed using Pebble's free software development kit (SDK).[18]

Pebble Technology Corporation raised $10.3 million through a Kickstarter campaign running from April 11, 2012, through May 18, 2012; this was the most money raised for any product on the site at that time. Best Buy, an American consumer electronics corporation, began selling Pebble smartwatches in July 2013, and sold out within five days. On 31 December 2014, Pebble sold its one millionth smartwatch.[4]

History[edit]

Development[edit]

The Pebble Smartwatch was designed based on a concept by Eric Migicovsky describing a watch that could display messages from a smartphone and select Android devices. Migicovsky successfully took his idea through the Y Combinator business incubator program, and unusually for a startup company at Y Combinator, Migicovsky's business actually generated revenue during the program.[19] Migicovsky was able to raise US$375,000 from angel investors such as Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, but was unable to raise additional funds.[19] Discussing his inability to raise further funds, Migicovsky told the Los Angeles Times, "I wasn't extremely surprised... hardware is much harder to raise money for. We were hoping we could convince some people to our vision, but it didn't work out."[20]

Funding[edit]

After raising venture capital for the product under their former name Allerta (which had already developed and sold the inPulse smartwatch for BlackBerry devices), the company failed to attract traditional investors under their new Pebble brand name,[19] so the company requested crowd funding in April 2012.

Migicovsky's company Pebble Technology launched a Kickstarter campaign on April 11, 2012 with an initial fundraising target of $100,000. Backers spending $115 would receive a Pebble when they became available ($99 for the first 200),[21] effectively pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discounted price.[20] Within two hours of going live, the project had met the $100,000 goal, and within six days, the project had become the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter to that point, raising over $4.7 million with 30 days left in the campaign.[20][22]

On May 10, 2012, Pebble Technology announced they were limiting the number of pre-orders. On May 18, 2012, funding closed with $10,266,844 pledged by 68,928 people.[23]

Production[edit]

Pebble worked with consulting firm Dragon Innovation to identify suppliers and manufactures.[2] After overcoming manufacturability difficulties with the prototype design, Pebble started mass production with manufacturer Foxlink Group in January 2013 with an initial production of 15,000 watches per week. Shipping was originally expected to begin September 2012,[24] but Pebble Technology encountered manufacturing difficulties and began shipping units on January 23, 2013.[25] Pebble shipped 300,000 units by December 2013 during its first year of production,[26] over 400,000 by March 2014,[27] 450,000 as of July 2014,[28] and 1 million by December 31, 2014.[29]

Features[edit]

Hardware[edit]

Pebble can display notifications when, for example, one receives an email.
A Pebble displaying bicycling speed, distance, and time when attached to a bike.
Pebble smartwatch size compared to UK's 50p coin and standard silicone wristband.

The watch has a 1.26-inch 144 × 168 pixel black and white memory LCD using an ultra low-power "transflective LCD" manufactured by Sharp with a backlight, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, ambient light sensors, and a three-axis accelerometer.[9][30][31][32][33] It can communicate with an Android or iOS device using both Bluetooth 2.1 and Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy) using Stonestreet One's Bluetopia+MFi software stack.[34] Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy (LE) support was not initially enabled, but a firmware update in November 2013 enabled it.[35] The watch is charged using a modified USB-cable that attaches magnetically to the watch to maintain water resistance capability.[30] The battery was reported in April 2012 to last seven days.[36] Based on feedback from Kickstarter backers, the developers added water-resistance to the list of features.[37] The Pebble has a waterproof rating of 5 atm, which means it can be submerged down to 40 m and has been tested in both fresh and salt water, allowing one to shower, dive or swim while wearing the watch.[38]

Software[edit]

As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1,000 applications.[18] These include notifications for emails, calls, text messages & social media activity; stock prices; activity tracking (movement, sleep, estimates of calories burned); remote controls for smartphones, cameras & home appliances; turn-by-turn directions (using the GPS receiver in a smartphone or tablet); display of RSS or JSON feeds; and hundreds of custom watch faces.

The Pebble was originally slated to ship with apps pre-installed, including a cycling app to measure speed, distance & pace through GPS, and a golf rangefinder app supporting more than 25,000 courses. These apps use data received from a connected phone for distance, speed and range information. More apps are downloadable via a mobile phone or tablet, and an SDK is freely available.[39] Not all apps were installed when the watch originally shipped, but CEO Eric Migicovsky announced on January 9, 2013 that every 2–3 weeks updates for the watch's OS (based on a FreeRTOS kernel) would be released until all features are added.[30]

The Pebble integrates with any phone or tablet application that sends out native iOS[40] or Android[41] notifications including for example the web service IFTTT.[42][43] IFTTT allow users to create rules for events that will send notifications to the watch.

The watch's firmware operating system is based on a FreeRTOS kernel and uses Newlib, the STM32 Peripheral Lib, the Ragel state machine compiler, and an unnamed UTF-8 Decoder.[44]

Pebble SDK[edit]

Pebble Technology announced that an open Pebble software development kit (SDK) would be released before shipment of the watches began.[45] A proof-of-concept watchface SDK and documentation were released on April 12, 2013.[46][47] The released SDK was limited to development for watch faces, simple applications and games. The second release of the SDK (renamed PebbleKit) was released on May 17, 2013 and added support for two-way communication between Pebbles and smartphones running iOS or Android via the AppMessage framework.

The 2.0 Pebble SDK, as of February 2015, included APIs to access bluetooth messaging, background workers, the accelerometer, the compass, and Javascript apps. Applications written with the second, PebbleKit SDK are not backwards compatible with 1.x apps, and developers had to port their apps to the second-gen firmware.[48]

Reception[edit]

The Pebble Watch's first edition was released to mixed reviews. The design was acclaimed for being innovative, and the watch vibration results in higher awareness of phone alerts.[49] For the Pebble Steel model reviewers noted the large price jump from $149 to $249 USD, the continued lack of touch-activation, and the cosmetic overhaul described as "less-geeky".[50][51]

Pebble Steel[edit]

The Pebble Steel is the Pebble's second generation smartwatch. Announced at CES 2014, it has a thinner body, tactile metal buttons, and Corning Gorilla Glass. It comes in 2 variations: a black matte finish and a brushed stainless steel finish, with both a black leather band and a matching steel band. It was released in February 2014. The CNET reviewer liked the design, readability, swim-friendly and selection of apps, while he disliked the lack of storage that limits to 8 user installed apps and the lack of a heart-rate monitor.[52]

Pebble Time[edit]

On February 24, 2015, Pebble announced the Pebble Time, their third generation smartwatch via its Kickstarter campaign.

Hardware[edit]

Pebble's third generation smartwatch comes with various improvements over its predecessors, such as a 64 color LCD[53] a thinner and more ergonomic chassis, plastic casing and a microphone. The Pebble Time retains the seven day battery life and water resistance found on the previous two Pebble watches. It has a 150mAh battery. Along side the Pebble Time Steel, Pebble announced it's open hardware platform called "Smartstraps". This lets developers develop new Third-Party straps that connects to a special port at the back of the watch and can add new features like GPS, Heart Rate Monitors, extended battery life and many more, to the watch. This new platform prevents smartwatch bloat and making the watch bulky like most of it's competitors' smartwatches.

Software[edit]

The Pebble Time also includes a new interface designed around a timeline, which is similar to what is found in Google Now on Android Wear. Pebble says the new interface will make its way to the original Pebble and Pebble Steel in the future. It is backwards compatible with all previous apps and watch faces.

Funding and records[edit]

The Pebble Time will retail for $199, but is available through Kickstarter during its campaign for a lower price.[54] The project reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $500,000 in 17 minutes.[55] The project took 49 minutes to reach $1 million, which is a Kickstarter record.[56] The project raised $10.3 million in 48 hours, another Kickstarter record. On March 3, 2015, Pebble Time became the most funded Kickstarter ever with nearly $14 million funded, while having 24 days left in its campaign.[57]

Pebble Time Steel[edit]

The Pebble Time Steel is a stainless steel variant of the Pebble Time smartwatch and is available in multiple finishes: silver, black or gold with either a leather or steel band.[58] The Time Steel is included in the original Time's Kickstarter. Pebble claims it has a 10 day battery life and will retail for $299 when it begins shipping in July 2015.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Business Entity Detail". California Secretary of State. 2012-04-04. Retrieved 21 May 2014. Entity number C3456720 
  2. ^ a b Milan, Mark (2013-09-16). "The Sticky Situation That Delayed the Pebble Smartwatch". Bloomberg L.P. Migicovsky signed an agreement with Taiwan-based Foxlink Group to assemble the Pebble watches in a plant near the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. 
  3. ^ "The Pebble is now even cheaper". Compare Smartwatches. Retrieved 2014-10-07. 
  4. ^ a b Pebble has now sold over 1 million as of Dec. 2014 smartwatches. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Pebble smart watch review – hands on". Expert Reviews. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  6. ^ Murray, Brad (2014-05-23). "FreeRTOS™ Code Revisions from Pebble". 
  7. ^ Migicovsky, Eric (2014-05-22). "Eric Migicovsky on Twitter". Our proprietary code is not open source though. 
  8. ^ "What is Pebble's (and Steel's) actual amount of Memory and Storage (RAM and ROM)?". 2014-05-15. 
  9. ^ a b "Pebble Teardown". iFixit. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "OET Exhibits List for FCCID RGQ-PEBBLE-WATCH, Internal Photos". FCC. 2012-12-27. 
  11. ^ Detwiler, Bill (2014-06-16). "Cracking Open the Pebble Steel". 
  12. ^ "OET Exhibits List for FCCID RGQ-PEBBLE-WATCH2, Internal Photos". FCC. 2014-01-06. 
  13. ^ "FCC OET Exhibits List for FCCID RGQ-PEBBLE-WATCHA, Internal Photos". FCC. 2013-10-18. 
  14. ^ Galan, Walter (2013-03-12). "Pebble Teardown". iFixIt. 
  15. ^ Chang, Alexandra (2012-05-14). "Hands On With Pebble Smartwatch, the Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever | Gadget Lab". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  16. ^ FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (2012-12-27). "OET List Exhibits Report". Apps.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  17. ^ "Privacy Policy". Pebble Technology Corp. 2013-01-19. 
  18. ^ a b Lee, Adriana (10 February 2014). "10 Cool Things A Pebble Smartwatch Can Do". ReadWrite. 
  19. ^ a b c "Rejected By VCs, Pebble Watch Raises $3.8M on Kickstarter". Go.bloomberg.com. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  20. ^ a b c Netburn, Deborah (2012-04-18). "Pebble smartwatch raises $4.7 million on Kickstarter funding site". latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  21. ^ "Vancouver-born entrepreneur’s Pebble smartphone breaks Kickstarter record". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  22. ^ Anthony Wing Kosner (2012-04-15). "Pebble Watch for iPhone and Android, The Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
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  24. ^ Cowley, Stacy. "Kickstarter's top projects: When they shipped". CNNMoney. CNN, Fortune, and Money. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  25. ^ Neal, Dave. "CES: Kickstarter funded Pebble watch makes a splash". The Inquirer. Incisive Financial Publishing Limited. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  26. ^ Francis, Don (2014-02-04). "George Zachary Calls Pebble His Best Investment To Date". Startup Grind. When asked by StartupGrind founder and interviewer, Derek Andersen, about the investment, George called said Pebble has not only been the fastest growing investment based on revenue, but also the most profitable. Charles River Ventures invested $15 million Series A funding in 2013. George confirmed that Pebble had shipped 300,000 units in its first year of operation. 
  27. ^ Mangalindan, JP (March 20, 2014). "Pebble sold 400,000 smartwatches last year, on track to double revenues in 2014". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  28. ^ TeamPebble (2014-07-08). "Pebble refusing to replace broken Kickstarter Edition. (screen flicker)". With over 450k active Pebbles in the wild,... 
  29. ^ Martin, Brandon (2015-02-02). "Pebble ships more than 1 million units, 2015 models to take on Apple Watch". www.inferse.com. Inferse. 
  30. ^ a b c Migicovsky, Eric (January 9, 2013). "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology " CES Announcement recap". Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  31. ^ Pebble Smartwatch | iPhone & Android Smartwatch. Getpebble.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  32. ^ Bennett, Brian (9 January 2013). "Pebble watch is the smartest timepiece ever (hands-on)". CNET. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology " Manufacturing and Software Updates". Pebble Technology. Kickstarter. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  34. ^ Migicovsky, Eric (CEO, Pebble) (2012-07-30). "Why only one connection?". Pebble Technology Corp. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  35. ^ Klug, Brian (2013-11-06). "Pebble Releases Update _ Better iOS 7 Integration, New APIs, Enables Bluetooth LE". AnandTech. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "Allerta intros Pebble smartwatch, inPulse's attractive younger sibling". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  37. ^ "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology " We're waterproofing Pebble!". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
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  39. ^ Chang, Alexandra (2012-04-11). "Pebble E-Ink Smartwatch Connects to Your iOS or Android Phone | Gadget Lab". Wired.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  40. ^ "Setting Up IOS Notifications". Pebble Technology. 2014-10-15. With the iOS7 Notification Center, Pebble can receive notifications for any apps that you set up to send alerts to your iPhone (4s or later iDevices). 
  41. ^ Joseph, Pebble's Community Manager (2014-11-20). "A world of increíble Pebble updates: Firmware, Android, and iOS (Release Notes)". Pebble Technology. With a new foundation to introduce awesome features more easily, version 2.1.0 of the Pebble Android app is here, starting with three magic words: Full. Notification. Support Android devices running 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or above can now send notifications to Pebble from any app, via the new Notifications " All Apps menu. 
  42. ^ "Connect iOS Notifications". IFTTT. Retrieved 21 November 2014. IFTTT enables you to connect the iOS Notifications Channel to 119 different Channels. 
  43. ^ Migicovsky, Eric (CEO, Pebble) (2012-07-18). "IFTTT Support". Pebble Technology Corporation. 
  44. ^ "Licenses | Pebble". Pebble. Retrieved 7 May 2014. Software; FreeRTOS, newlib, STM32 Peripheral Lib, UTF-8 Decoder, Ragel 
  45. ^ "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology " Developer SDK availability". Pebble Technology. Kickstarter. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  46. ^ "Pebble Watchface SDK Release". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  47. ^ "Pebble Watchface SDK Documentation". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  48. ^ https://developer.getpebble.com/2/guides/migration-guide.html
  49. ^ Pebble Watch Review. Business Insider (2013-04-17). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  50. ^ Stein, Scott. (2014-01-06) Pebble Steel – Watches and wrist devices – CNET Reviews. Reviews.cnet.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  51. ^ "Pebble an affordable smartwatch in your range". StockNewsDesk. 2014-09-17. 
  52. ^ Pebble Steel review - CNET. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  53. ^ Hoffelder, Nate (March 25, 2015). "Reveals That it has an LCD Screen". Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  54. ^ "Pebble Time - Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises". Kickstarter. Pebble Technology. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  55. ^ "Made our @Kickstarter goal in 17 minutes?! Only one thing to say :-D #PebbleTime http://pbl.io/kickstarter". Twitter. Pebble Technology. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  56. ^ "Pebble's color watch is the fastest Kickstarter project to hit $1 million (updated)". Engadget. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  57. ^ Pebble Time most funded Kickstarter ever. USA Today. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  58. ^ Pebble Time Steel launches alongside new smart watch straps. Gigaom. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

External links[edit]