The Apple Watch has a new competitor, the Pebble smartwatch.
The first part of Pebble’s next move unsurprisingly centers around the new watch. Called Pebble Time, it’s about what you’d expect a third-generation Pebble to be. It's thinner and lighter than Pebble’s earlier watches, and it has a slight curve on the back that hugs your wrist. It retains the four physical buttons from the first two watches, and it uses the same size straps as Pebble’s first watch.
But this watch has a few tricks up its sleeve. For the first time, Pebble’s smartwatch has a color e-paper LCD screen, replacing the black-and-white panels used on the Pebble and Pebble Steel. It’s not the same kind of display you’ll find on an Android Wear watch or the Apple Watch; only 64 colors are available, and it has much less contrast, saturation, and resolution than other screens. It’s more like a Game Boy Color screen than a modern smartphone display. But it uses very little power and is visible in bright daylight, letting Pebble keep the display on all the time without using a lot of battery life. That helps preserve one of Pebble’s strengths over the competition: the company says the Pebble Time can last up to seven days between charges, far longer than other smartwatches.
There’s also a new microphone that, for the first time, allows for limited voice control: replying to incoming messages and recording voice notes. Migicovsky argues that voice control on other platforms can be hit or miss, so Pebble intentionally limited it on its new watch. "We wanted to make sure that we built a system that works," says Migicovsky. (Because Pebble isn’t as deeply integrated into your phone’s system as the Apple Watch or Android Wear, doing anything more would be difficult.) For similar reasons, Pebble Time eschews the more complicated heart rate monitoring and other health tracking systems Android Wear and the Apple Watch support and sticks with a basic motion detector to count your steps.
But while the Time doesn’t really do that much more than Pebble’s earlier watches, Pebble is offering ways for other developers and hardware makers to expand upon its capabilities. Developers will be able to tap into the Bluetooth LE radio inside the watch to trigger various functions in other devices, making the Pebble a kind of hub for your wearables and letting you leave your phone at home more often. Pebble also plans to allow for more hardware integration in the near future in the form of custom wrist straps that plug into a special port on the watch and add functionality like heart rate monitoring. Time is suddenly no longer just another smartwatch in Pebble’s lineup; it’s now a full wearable platform that can potentially integrate with countless other devices in your life — assuming Pebble can get other hardware developers on board.
Read more about the Pebble smartwatch on The Verge.
Or visit GetPebble.com
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