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]
Product family Pebble
Type Smartwatch
Generation 1
Introductory price Pebble: $89[3]
Pebble Steel: $149
Pebble Time: $199
Pebble Time Steel: $249
Pebble Time Round: $249[4]
Units sold Over 1,000,000 as of December 2014[5]
Operating system

Pebble OS; uses a customized FreeRTOS kernel[6][7] Can communicate with Android and iOS apps using Bluetooth. Portions of Pebble OS are closed source.[8]

Latest Version: 3.9.1
CPU STM32F205RE Cortex M3 CPU for Pebble Smartwatch and Steel, and Cortex M4 for Pebble Time and newer.
Memory RAM 128 KB (84 KB OS, 24 KB app, 12 KB background worker, 8 KB app services)[9]
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.[10][11] Originals built after October 2013 and all Steel watches have 8 MiB (64 Mibit) flash.[12][13][14]
All models also have 512 KiB SoC flash memory
Display 32-millimetre (1.26 in) 144×168 pixel Sharp Memory LCD "e-paper"[15][16]
Graphics 1-bit
Sound None
Input 4 buttons
3-axis accelerometer with gesture detection
magnetometer and ambient light sensor[6]
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 mm × 36 mm × 11.5 mm (2.05 in × 1.42 in × 0.45 in),[17]
Pebble Steel: 46 mm × 34 mm × 10.5 mm (1.81 in × 1.34 in × 0.41 in)
Weight Pebble: 38 g (1.34 oz),
Pebble Steel: 56 g (1.97 oz) (with default watchband attached)
Android, iOS
Successor Pebble Time (both normal and Steel variants)

The Pebble Smartwatch is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation[18] and released in 2013 that received the majority of its initial funding via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The watch features a black and white low power LCD, a programmable CPU, memory, storage, Bluetooth, a vibrating alert motor, a magnetometer, an ambient light sensor, and an accelerometer; these extend its use into many roles including interacting with smartphone notifications, activity tracking, gaming, map display, and golf tracking.

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).[19]

Apps include remotes for Nest, sports scores from ESPN, Google Maps directions, live arrival time information for multiple public transit systems, fitness tracking from Misfit and Jawbone, news headlines from BBC, reminders, weather, checklists, and numerous other independently-created apps. With a Pebble Time, users can reply to text messages with the built-in microphone.

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 December 31, 2014, Pebble sold its one millionth smartwatch.[5] In 2015, Pebble launched the Pebble Time and Time Steel with Kickstarter, raising $20,338,986 from over 75,000 backers, breaking records for both on the site. On May 24 2015, Pebble Technology released Pebble Time, the second generation of the Pebble smartwatch, and on August, released the Pebble Time Steel. Their third generation, named the Pebble Time Round, was announced on September 24, 2015.[20] The Pebble Time Round, the thinnest smartwatch ever made at just 7.5mm, had a round screen, making it look more like a regular watch. It had the same hardware as the Pebble Time and Time Steel, albeit with a smaller battery to accommodate the smaller frame.



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.[21] 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.[21] 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."[22]


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,[21] 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),[23] effectively pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discounted price.[22] 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.[22][24]

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.[25]


Pebble worked with consulting firm Dragon Innovation to identify suppliers and manufacturers.[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,[26] but Pebble Technology encountered manufacturing difficulties and began shipping units on January 23, 2013.[27] Pebble shipped 300,000 units by December 2013 during its first year of production,[28] over 400,000 by March 2014,[29] 450,000 as of July 2014,[30] and 1 million by December 31, 2014.[31]



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 32-millimetre (1.26 in) 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.[10][32][33][34][35] 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.[36] Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy (LE) support was not initially enabled, but a firmware update in November 2013 enabled it.[37] The watch is charged using a modified USB-cable that attaches magnetically to the watch to maintain water resistance capability.[32] The battery was reported in April 2012 to last seven days.[38] Based on feedback from Kickstarter backers, the developers added water-resistance to the list of features.[39] The Pebble has a waterproof rating of 5 atm, which means it can be submerged down to 40 metres (130 ft) and has been tested in both fresh and salt water, allowing one to shower, dive or swim while wearing the watch.[40]


As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1,000 applications.[19] 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.[41] 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 operating system would be released until all features are added.[32]

The Pebble integrates with any phone or tablet application that sends out native iOS[42] or Android[43] notifications including for example the web service IFTTT.[44][45] 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.[46]

Gadgetbridge is an alternative companion application for Android. It is open source, does not require account creation and supports features like notifications, music playback and watch application installation/removal.

Pebble SDK[edit]

Pebble Technology announced that an open Pebble software development kit (SDK) would be released before shipment of the watches began.[47] A proof-of-concept watchface SDK and documentation were released on April 12, 2013.[48][49] 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.[50]


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.[51] 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".[52][53]

Pebble Steel[edit]

Pebble Steel

The Pebble Steel is a steel-bodied variant of the original Pebble 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-friendliness 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.[54]

Pebble Time[edit]

Main article: Pebble Time
Pebble Time

On February 24, 2015, Pebble announced the Pebble Time, their second-generation Pebble smartwatch via its Kickstarter campaign. In late May, Pebble Time started shipping to backers. It is currently available on Pebble's website via Best Buy.

The Pebble Time Steel is a stainless steel variant of the Pebble Time smartwatch, available in multiple finishes: silver, black or gold with either a leather or steel band.[55] Pebble claims it has a 10-day battery life.

The Pebble Time Round is also made of stainless steel and 2.5d gorilla glass, with five finishes, including the new rose gold. Pebble claims it has a 2-day battery life, dramatically decreased because of the shape and size but still significantly longer-lasting than the Apple Watch's 16-hour life.


Pebble's second generation comes with various improvements over its predecessors, such as a 64-color e-paper display with Gorilla Glass[56] 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.

Alongside the Pebble Time Steel, Pebble announced its 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 other things to the watch. This new platform prevents smartwatch bloat and making the watch bulky like most of its competitors' smartwatches.


The Pebble Time also includes a new interface designed around a timeline,[57] which is similar to what is found in Google Now on Android Wear. In December 2015, all old Pebbles got a firmware update, enabling support for the timeline and removing the maximum of 8 apps-restriction, letting additional apps load directly from the connected phone. It is backwards compatible with all previous apps and watch faces.

Funding and records[edit]

The Pebble Time retails for $199.[58] The project reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $500,000 in 17 minutes.[59] The project took 49 minutes to reach $1 million, which is a Kickstarter record.[60] 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.[61] At the end of the funding, March 27, 2015, Pebble Time received pledges of $20,338,986 from 78,471 backers.[62]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Business Entity Detail". California Secretary of State. April 4, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2014. Entity number C3456720 
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  43. ^ Joseph, Pebble's Community Manager (November 20, 2014). "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.  line feed character in |quote= at position 175 (help)
  44. ^ "Connect iOS Notifications". IFTTT. Retrieved November 21, 2014. IFTTT enables you to connect the iOS Notifications Channel to 119 different Channels. 
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  62. ^ Pebble Time - Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises Pebble Kickstarter Pebble Project Updates Retrieved April 30, 2015.

External links[edit]