For the few of you who haven’t heard of Pebble, it’s a smart watch that came out before the Apple Watch was more than a rumor, and before Google Gear was even a thing. There had been wrist-based devices before, but Pebble changed things up by being Kickstarter-based. In fact, they raised ten million dollars–a Kickstarter record at the time. Since then they’ve come out with updates, both hardware and software, but this time they’ve added something huge: Color.
Not just color either, but color e-ink. For those unfamiliar with the technology, e-ink is the same thing that Amazon uses in the Kindle eReaders. It’s been a strictly monochromatic affair until now. Color displays existed, but were too expensive or slow for daily use. Apparently the tech has gotten to the point where it’s usable on a watch, which is huge. The biggest issue with smart watches is battery life; I challenge you to find one that makes it through a day. Thanks to the color e-ink, the Pebble Time is expected to last up to seven days.
The Pebble Time also has a microphone for responding to notifications (but don’t plan on using it to talk to Siri or Google Now), and there will be a voice API so developers can use the microphone with apps. Another neat addition aimed at devs is a hardware port for expandability. This is in case you want to build smart straps or other goodies. Note that the Time is only water resistant, not water proof, and the OS has been changed a bit. Only time will tell how established fans react.
Despite being an established company at this point, Pebble chose to go back to Kickstarter because it gives them a leg up on the larger companies with better distribution channels. Considering the Pebble Time is the first Kickstarter to break a million in under an hour (they’re almost at four million as I write this Edit – and just broke nine!), I’m guessing that was a good move. Units are apparently already in production and expected to ship in May.