Who wears a watch these days? Certainly not me, and I’m not alone. Other devices we might carry around have become increasingly useful; mobile phones now replicate much of the functionality of a full desktop PC, portable gaming devices like PS Vita are now WiFi or even 3G enabled, and Apple’s iPod nano has become small enough to wear on your wrist just like a watch. In this time of multifunctional mini-computers, who wants a dedicated device to tell the time?
Enter the smart watches, the concept is this – it’s a watch that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to display incoming messages and notifications on your wrist. It also allows you basic control of certain tasks such as music playback.
There have been a few smart watches for Android and Blackberry, none have yet achieved much commercial success, the biggest complaints have been short battery life, poor screen quality, and lack of functionality.
And then there is Pebble – a new smart watch, which aims to address those three major concerns. Using an E-Paper display (as seen on Kindle and other e-readers), Pebble’s screen looks sharp, and animations look really fluid. A downside of E-Paper screens is that they don’t display colour – but Pebble’s monochrome screen looks very stylish. A major upside of E-Paper displays is that they use very little power in comparison to LCD. Pebble’s creators claim that the battery will last 7 days between charges.
Pebble will work with any Android phone that has Bluetooth and is running Android 2.3 or above, it’ll also work with iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 5 or above. The functionality of Pebble isn’t quite as good for iOS users, due to the closed nature of iOS there are some things that just aren’t possible on iPhone, SMS messages for example cannot be displayed on Pebble – but other notifications (Facebook, Twitter, Calendar alerts, Email, Incoming calls) will work just as well for iPhone users as they would for Android.
As a Windows Phone user I’m slightly gutted there’s no support at all for Windows Phone. Pebble looks like a really cool gadget, and in many ways it’s like a wrist-mounted Live Tile, which would be a great fit for Windows Phone – but as a developer myself I recognize that Microsoft have not made it easy to get something like this to work with Windows Phone 7.x – here’s hoping Windows Phone 8 gives developers better access to notifications.
There’s no set release date for Pebble yet. But this is something to keep an eye on, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for Windows Phone 8 support in the future.