Monday, June 24, 2013

Watch Radar: Pebble Smart Watch

A friend who participated in the original KickStarter campaign recently received his Pebble watch in the mail.  His initial impressions are over the moon.  He's especially pleased with the ability to read emails directly on the watch's e-paper screen.  I'm looking forward to asking for his long-term impressions after a few weeks of use.

I held back on participating in the KickStarter campaign in part because I'm usually reluctant to be an early adopter.  My consumer philosophy is to let others work out the initial kinks of product design and wait until a refined version appears on the market.  This tendency compounds when certain technical aspects of a product give me pause.  In the Pebble's case, the things that raised my eyebrow were its seven-day battery life, (presumably) non-sapphire crystal, 22mm band size, and dependancy on iOS / Android compatibility.  The last factor could easily shift from liability to asset, depending on whether the Pebble's connectivity and native app development keeps pace with smartphone operating systems and functionality.  But at a stage where only the earliest backers are just now getting their hands on the product, it's still too early to say how deep the support will run.

Also, in the end, even if the Pebble is as successful and useful as it could be, giving it a place in my watch box would only result in it competing for wrist time with the mechanicals and quartzes that currently vie against each other.  For now, I'm happy to let others serve as the intrepid pioneers for what may very well be the next phase of evolution for the humble wristwatch.  The decades-old technology in the automatic on my wrist suits me just fine.

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