Pebble just can't kick Kickstarter – pioneering smartwatch maker is back with three new wearables
Pebble has returned to Kickstarter for the third time as it launches the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core wearables. That's an upgrade for both of Pebble's main smartwatches, plus a brand new fitness focused wearable.
Pebble's previous Kickstarters, for the very first Pebble and the Pebble Time, broke crowdfunding records, so the company will be eager to repeat the trick again. In a wearable world where Pebble's relevance seems to be dwindling by the day, though, the Kickstarter platform is looking more and more like an attention-seeking tactic with every new appearance Pebble makes. At what point do you expect a company to grow past crowdfunding?
The Pebble 2, as its name suggests, is an upgrade on the original Pebble that helped put smartwatches on the radar, with its crowdfunding campaign from way back in 2012. The new model remains the entry level product in the Pebble range but brings with it better sleep, activity and the addition of heart rate tracking, together with water resistance up to 30 meters.
Pebble is quoting a 7-day battery life for the device, one of Pebble's few remaining standout features compared to more advanced smartwatches, and it's available exclusively on Kickstarter for US$99. Pebble says it will eventually retail for $129.
Then there's the Pebble Time 2, the equivalent upgrade for the Pebble Time. Again, it's mainly the fitness features that have been boosted, though the color e-paper display has been improved as well to fit in 80 percent more pixels (Pebble watches were never known for sharp displays) while getting 50 percent larger at the same time. It has the same waterproof rating as the Pebble 2.
Another Kickstarter exclusive for now, the Pebble Time 2 will set you back $169 if you back the campaign and $199 if you'd rather wait for all the crowdfunding excitement to die down.
That brings us to the brand new Pebble Core, a little display-free, clip-on device that essentially frees you from your phone while exercising and running. It has 3G connectivity (that's going to be slow compared to the LTE your phone likely has), built-in GPS and 4 GB of internal storage, and it can connect to a range of fitness tracking apps (once you get back home).
You can sync Spotify playlists to the Core as well as send out an SOS message to a contact with one press. It's selling on Kickstarter for $69 ($99 retail) and Pebble says it can last 20 hours on a single charge with GPS enabled.
There's also a "hacker's edition" of the Core advertised on Kickstarter, which you can customize to set up all kinds of one-touch operations: hailing Ubers, opening garage doors, turning off smart lights, and so on. Sort of a programmable Amazon Dash button that you wear.
Pebble smashed through its original $1 million funding goal in an hour or so, so it looks like the company's latest Kickstarter will prove to be another winner.