Earlier this week Pebble teased us all with a cryptic tweet saying that something special was coming, and now we know exactly what that is. Pebble has today announced the second generation Pebble and Pebble Time smartwatches as well as a fitness tracker called Pebble Core.
Three years after the launch of the original Kickstarter-funded Pebble Smartwatch, Pebble has now announced its successor, the Pebble 2 which comes with a number of visual improvements as well as a few added bells and whistles that you’d find on today’s most popular smartwatches: a heart rate sensor.
Although it features a similar design to the original Pebble, the Pebble 2 now comes with a slightly larger screen, although its keeping the same black and white display with Gorilla Glass coating. In addition to the heart rate sensor, the Pebble 2 also comes with an added microphone.
The reason for the added heart rate sensor, according to Pebble is because it now believes fitness tracking has become one of the main parts of smartwatch functionality, along side notifications and basic communications. It also added that they needed to continue innovating on its simplistic smartwatches to continue to be a contender with other, much larger companies.
As for the Pebble Time 2, this is actually a blend of the original Pebble Time and the Pebble Time Steel smartwatches, in fact the original Time and Steel will be phased out in favour of the new Pebble Time 2. Along with a slightly larger colour display, the Pebble Time 2 also comes with a heart rate sensor and built-in microphone.
With these new features one thing that Pebble didn’t want to sacrifice was battery life, something the Pebble is pretty renowned for, and that doesn’t change at all, with the Pebble 2 offering an estimated life of a week, and the Pebble Time 2 offering around 10 days, impressive considering the added sensors on the watches.
Aside from the various improvements and aesthetic changes, the watch OS itself will also come with a new framework called Actions, which allows quick asses to core app functions. Pressing on the top right physical button will bring you to a shortcut of your favourite app, whether its messaging, or even hailing an Uber.
In terms of availability, both the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 go on sale via Kickstarter today with the Pebble 2 costing $99 with an expected shipping date of September, the Pebble Time 2 is a little more expensive at $169, and should be shipping a little later too in November.
Now, watches aside, Pebbles new focus on fitness doesn’t stop with just a watch, in fact a brand new Pebble Core has also been unveiled which is essentially a GPS-enabled keychain which people can use to track other fitness activities from running to cycling.
At a glance the Pebble Core is about the size of an iPod Shuffle and can be attached to keys, bags, or bicycles. It comes with the aforementioned GPS, but also 3G and Wi-Fi and allows users to play Spotify playlists on the go. There’s a physical button found on the device which acts as a stop-and-start function for most activities, and another smaller button which offers some Pebble Watch functionalities such as sending texts with locations.
There’s also a 3.5mm jack for headphones, and also pairs with wireless headphones over Bluetooth. The Core has around 9 hours of active battery life and works with Qi Wireless Charging technology.
The idea behind the Core is that it allows users to go about their fitness activities without their Smartphones in tow, allowing for music playback, basic communication, and fitness tracking all in one much smaller package. Unfortunately the whole GPS function seems a little pointless as you can’t actually see any of the information until you sync data to the Pebble Health, or other third party workout apps. There are audio cues to let you know various distances, but to get really down to details, you do have to sync with the app.
That being said, with the price tag of only $69 you can’t argue.
What’s more, the Pebble Core has also been dubbed a decent tool for “hackers”, although it’s really losely using the term. Due to the Pebble Core running on Android OS and not Pebble OS, this allows users to create functions with the core, allowing them to control other devices such as IoT tech such as light switches or smart locks. Which is an interesting use.
You can head to the Kickstarter now to grab your own Pebble 2 or Pebble Time 2 or Pebble Core.