Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Pebble Watch arrives

Two days ago I received my Pebble™ watch in the mail. I was one of the 68,000+ Kickstarter™ backers and have kept an eye on the progress of Pebble since the crowd-source funding succeeded. A fascinating business case, I watched the memos from Pebble™ as they finished the planning, the designing, the manufacturing and the inevitable redesign and streamlining before the final production run. So now, a few months past the expected delivery date, I received my watch.
I'm not in the least bit disappointed. A couple things you need to know about me if you don't know already: I like gadgets and I like watches. I get gadgets all the time, so Darling says I need to stay employed just to buy my toys. I haven't worn a watch in about twenty years, ever since I removed a wrist watch given to me by a couple that I dearly loved and it was stolen from my desk. Still, I have quite a few watches I don't wear. I like pocket watches, too. I have one that belonged to my Grandfather Victor and has his initials engraved on the back (VAB). My college girlfriend gave me a fantastic pocket watch and the winding knob came off. When we broke up I gave it to my younger brother, so I have no idea where that one is now.
What's special about this Pebble™ watch? Not much, really, except the promise of what it might do. It doesn't look like much, just black plastic with a comfortable though not extraordinary band. A button on the left is "back" and the three buttons on the right are "up," "select" and "down." There is a very cool charger on the left that is magnetic and non-intrusive, and the watch is waterproof, rated to 5 ATM (and I have no idea how deep that is, but not much, I think). I don't plan to swim with it, but I don't worry when I'm washing dishes either (yes, I wash dishes occasionally - ask Darling). 
I put this under my shirt collar
Paired with my iPhone I can control the music from it, but I can control the music with my new stereo headset (LG HBS730). If you told me I could only keep one, I'd keep the headset. Both use Bluetooth, so there is extra drain on my phone, which will help determine what my next phone will be (expect an update on that one in MAY!). The watch also tells me who is calling, something the headset doesn't do (though it might be able to and I don't know how to set that up). Any other message that normally goes to my screen-locked iPhone also goes to my new watch which vibrates and displays the latest message until dismissed. In the car that's pretty sweet. Combined with my headset I never really need to take the phone out of my pocket and I like that.
Pebble™ says there are a number of companies who will update their apps to display notifications on the watch, and I look forward to that. My Runtastic™ is among the first I expect to install.
Aside from that I can switch watch faces, though I like the one I finally chose. It's displayed in the picture.
With the available SDK for the watch I might be able to jump in and create some apps of my own that I can distribute to other Pebble™ owners. I look forward to doing that as well, though the e-ink display is small.
The real beauty of this watch isn't the watch itself, but the mindset driving the creation of the watch. This market will become huge, eventually eclipsing and possibly replacing the phones we wear. Dick Tracy would be proud!
With my new stereo headset, Pebble™ watch and iPhone I am slowly becoming a cyborg. Resistance is futile!
Right, like I'd put a BORG picture here!

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