Pebble (watch)

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Pebble Smartwatch
Pebble watch trio group 04.png
Also known as Pebble
Developer Pebble Technology, Corp., which will do business in California as Pebble Devices, Corp.[1]
Manufacturer Foxlink Group in Taiwan[2]
Type Smartwatch
Generation 2 (Pebble Steel)
Introductory price Kickstarter backers: USD 115
Pre-orders: USD 150
Retail: USD 99[3] Pebble Steel: 199
Units sold over 400,000 as of March 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]
Power 130mAh, 7 days (assuming ~20–30 notifications a day, and a per-minute updating watchface)
CPU STM32F205RE Cortex M3 CPU
Memory RAM 128KB (84KB OS, 24KB app, 12KB background worker, 8KB app services)[8]
Storage 8 slots for apps/watch faces, 100KB per slot for a total of 800KB user accessible space.
Original has 4 MiB (32 Mibit) flash,[9]
Steel has 8 MiB (64 Mibit) flash,[10]
plus 512KiB SoC flash memory
Display 144×168 pixel Sharp Memory LCD "e-paper"[11][12]
Graphics 1 bit
Sound No sound
Input 4 buttons
3-axis accelerometer with gesture detection
magnetometer and ambient light sensor[5]
Camera No camera
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1 (default), 4.0 LE (used for iOS 7 notifications) + EDR
Dimensions Pebble: 52 × 36 × 11.5 mm (2.05 × 1.42 × 0.45 in),[13]
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
iPhone and Android
Successor Pebble Steel
Related articles smart watches
Website getpebble.com

The Pebble is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation[14] and released in 2013 that received the majority of its initial funding via the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. The watch features a black and white e-paper display, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, ambient light sensors, and an accelerometer, enabling its use as an activity tracker. 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).[15]

The Pebble raised $10.3 million through Kickstarter, the most for any product on the site until that time. Best Buy, an American consumer electronics corporation, began selling Pebble smartwatches in July 2013, and sold out within five days.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

The Pebble Watch 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.[16] 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.[16] 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."[17]

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,[16] 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),[18] effectively pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discounted price.[17] 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.[17][19]

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.[20]

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,[21] but Pebble Technology encountered manufacturing difficulties and began shipping units on January 23, 2013.[22] Pebble shipped 300,000 units in its first year of operation by December 2013,[23] over 400,000 by March 20, 2014,[24] and over 450,000 as of 8 July 2014.[25]

Features[edit]

Hardware[edit]

Pebble can send users notifications when they receive an email.
A Pebble attached to a bike, displaying bicycling speed and distance, as well as time
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 e-paper display 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][26][27][28][29] 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.[30] Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy (LE) support was not initially enabled, but a firmware update in November 2013 enabled it.[31] The watch is charged using a modified USB-cable that attaches magnetically to the watch to maintain water resistance capability.[26] The battery was reported in April 2012 to last seven days.[32] Based on feedback from Kickstarter backers, the developers added water-resistance to the list of features.[33] The Pebble has a waterproof rating of 5 atm, which means it can be submerged down to 40m and has been tested in both fresh and salt water, allowing one to shower, dive or swim while wearing the watch.[34]

Software[edit]

As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1,000 applications.[15] 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.[35] 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.[26]

The Pebble integrates with any phone or tablet application that sends out native iOS[36] or Android[37] notifications including for example the web service IFTTT.[38][39] 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.[40]

Pebble SDK[edit]

Pebble Technology announced that an open Pebble software development kit (SDK) would be released before shipment of the watches began.[41] A proof-of-concept watchface SDK and documentation were released on April 12, 2013.[42][43] The released SDK was limited to development for watch faces, simple applications and games. The second release of the SDK (now known as PebbleKit) was released on May 17, 2013, adding support for two-way communication between Pebbles and smartphones running iOS or Android via the AppMessage framework.

The latest Pebble SDK includes access to the accelerometer, as well as a Javascript API. The beta is not backwards compatible with 1.x apps, and as a result developers will have to port their apps over to the second-gen firmware.[44]

Reception[edit]

The first edition of the Pebble was released to mixed reviews. The design was acclaimed for being innovative, and the watch vibration results in higher awareness of phone alerts.[45] 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".[46]

Pebble Steel[edit]

The Pebble Steel is the next generation of Pebble. 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

[47]

  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. ^ Mangalindan, JP (2014-03-20). "Pebble sold 400,000 smartwatches last year, on track to double revenues in 2014". Fortune. 
  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. ^ Detwiler, Bill (2014-06-16). "Cracking Open the Pebble Steel". 
  11. ^ Galan, Walter (2013-03-12). "Pebble Teardown". iFixIt. 
  12. ^ Chang, Alexandra (2012-05-14). "Hands On With Pebble Smartwatch, the Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever | Gadget Lab". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  13. ^ FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (2012-12-27). "OET List Exhibits Report". Apps.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  14. ^ "Privacy Policy". Pebble Technology Corp. 2013-01-19. 
  15. ^ a b Lee, Adriana (10 February 2014). "10 Cool Things A Pebble Smartwatch Can Do". ReadWrite. 
  16. ^ a b c "Rejected By VCs, Pebble Watch Raises $3.8M on Kickstarter". Go.bloomberg.com. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  17. ^ a b c Netburn, Deborah (2012-04-18). "Pebble smartwatch raises $4.7 million on Kickstarter funding site". latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  18. ^ "Vancouver-born entrepreneur’s Pebble smartphone breaks Kickstarter record". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  19. ^ Anthony Wing Kosner (2012-04-15). "Pebble Watch for iPhone and Android, The Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  20. ^ Jared Newman, “Pebble Smartwatch Pre-Orders Are Sold Out, $10+ Million Pledged”, Time Techland, 10 May 2012
  21. ^ Cowley, Stacy. "Kickstarter's top projects: When they shipped". CNNMoney. CNN, Fortune, and Money. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  22. ^ Neal, Dave. "CES: Kickstarter funded Pebble watch makes a splash". The Inquirer. Incisive Financial Publishing Limited. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Mangalindan, JP (March 20, 2014). "Pebble sold 400,000 smartwatches last year, on track to double revenues in 2014". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  25. ^ TeamPebble ( (2014-07-08). "Pebble refusing to replace broken Kickstarter Edition. (screen flicker)". With over 450k active Pebbles in the wild,... 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Pebble Smartwatch | iPhone & Android Smartwatch. Getpebble.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  28. ^ Bennett, Brian (9 January 2013). "Pebble watch is the smartest timepiece ever (hands-on)". CNET. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ Migicovsky, Eric (CEO, Pebble) (2012-07-30). "Why only one connection?". Pebble Technology Corp. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  31. ^ Klug, Brian (2013-11-06). "Pebble Releases Update _ Better iOS 7 Integration, New APIs, Enables Bluetooth LE". AnandTech. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  32. ^ "Allerta intros Pebble smartwatch, inPulse's attractive younger sibling". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  33. ^ "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology » We're waterproofing Pebble!". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  34. ^ "Pebble Smartwatch Review". PC Mag. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  35. ^ Chang, Alexandra (2012-04-11). "Pebble E-Ink Smartwatch Connects to Your iOS or Android Phone | Gadget Lab". Wired.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  36. ^ "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). 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ "Connect iOS Notifications". IFTTT. Retrieved 21 November 2014. IFTTT enables you to connect the iOS Notifications Channel to 119 different Channels. 
  39. ^ Migicovsky, Eric (CEO, Pebble) (2012-07-18). "IFTTT Support". Pebble Technology Corporation. 
  40. ^ "Licenses | Pebble". Pebble. Retrieved 7 May 2014. Software; FreeRTOS, newlib, STM32 Peripheral Lib, UTF-8 Decoder, Ragel 
  41. ^ "Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android by Pebble Technology » Developer SDK availability". Pebble Technology. Kickstarter. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  42. ^ "Pebble Watchface SDK Release". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  43. ^ "Pebble Watchface SDK Documentation". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  44. ^ https://developer.getpebble.com/2/guides/migration-guide.html
  45. ^ Pebble Watch Review. Business Insider (2013-04-17). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  46. ^ Stein, Scott. (2014-01-06) Pebble Steel – Watches and wrist devices – CNET Reviews. Reviews.cnet.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  47. ^ "Pebble an affordable smartwatch in your range". StockNewsDesk. 2014-09-17. 

External links[edit]