Pebble Reveals Trio Of New Devices: No Longer Just A Smartwatch Company
Three years after Pebble started selling its innovative Kickstarter-funded smartwatch, the Redwood City, California-based startup is rolling out a successor. The new Pebble 2 has some artistic improvements, but the most notable new feature is the Pebble 2's capability to track heart rate. In fact, the Pebble Time 2, another new smartwatch, will also feature heart rate sensors, and Pebble declares they'll be included on all future Pebble watches.
Pebble says it decided to include heart rate tracking because the company considers fitness tracking has become the third support of smartwatch functionality, alongside basic communications and notifications. But it's also an acknowledgement on the part of Pebble that it will want to keep innovating on its relatively simplistic smartwatches if it plans to continue to compete with much bigger companies that are making wearables.
Pebble has released three new devices onto Kickstarter – going back to the crowdfunding platform that has delivered so much success for the Redwood City startup in the past.
The new range is made up of the Pebble 2, the Pebble Core and the Pebble Time 2.
The Core is a small cube-sized computer that's intended to work with a Pebble smartwatch and take the place of a smartphone.
The Core can take an SIM card to get 3G cellular service and it covers a microphone and a GPS tracker.
Battery life is nine hours with Spotify streaming up and running and GPS tracking, and there are the bunch of other useful features such as SOS alerts, voice memos and one tap Pebble app access for things such as ordering an Uber.
The Pebble Core won’t be delivered until January 2017, however – so there a chance more traditional tech giants could pip it to the post with something similar. It costs only $69 though, so it could be worth the wait.
The buttons on the Core can be planned to do a variety of tasks, such as opening a garage door or hailing an Uber. There's also an option to send someone an emergency message, and the ability to stream Spotify.
"We think it's an optimal device for a runner," CEO Eric Migicovsky said in an interview.
“Health and communications is at the heart of how people use wearables today. Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 combine the power of a fitness tracker with the awesome smartwatch features that we’ve developed over the last four years. With Pebble Core, we’re launching off the wrist and taking wearables to the next level.”
Starting with the latter, because it’s the top profile of the new Pebble smartwatches, The Time 2 is a direct sequel to the Pebble Time that introduced last year.
It packs a color e-paper display that is 50 percent better than the original's and claims 80 percent more pixels. The battery life remains at an impressive 10 days and there’s a built-in heart rate monitor for more in-depth fitness tracking.
The Pebble 2 is being payable as the company’s “most affordable” smartwatch, with a focus on fitness. The design is suggestive of the original Pebble — though the sides are a little more tapered and it feels thinner.
Like the original Pebble and the Pebble Time, the Pebble 2 has an e-paper display and long battery life. It’s also waterproof up to 30 meters and it has a built-in microphone for voice replies and notes. It will retail for $129 when it ships this September, but Kickstarter backers can purchase in for $99.