THE SMART WATCH called Pebble now has a release date, and will begin shipping on 23 January.
The watch is a Kickstarter darling and when it asked potential investors for $100,000 it actually pulled in $10m. That's probably because people really like the idea of having many of the features that a smartphone normally confines to their pocket right there on their wrist.
Pebble is open to apps, meaning that you can tailor it to your own circumstances. One example is that a cyclist could use apps that relate to that activity like GPS, speed, distance and pace data. People that run, play golf and listen to music are other potential customers.
The watch was shown off in more detail at CES. It will start shipping in just a couple of weeks, and it now includes a Magnetometer with compass-like functionality and ambient light sensors that can read how much light is available in your environment. It's also waterproof enough to survive a dunk in a tumbler thanks to its use of a magnetic charging connection.
CEO Eric Migicovsky said it is ideally suited to people that play sports, but anyone would enjoy the ability to read emails on a watch, wouldn't they?
In a demonstration in Vegas, he showed off the watch and gave examples of how easy it is to read or dismiss emails and recieve SMS messages.
The Pebble watch costs $150 and comes in a few different colours: black, grey white, red and orange. You can load apps into it over Bluetooth from your iPhone or Android device, and choose different wallpapers, fonts, notification icons and that kind of thing.
It has a black and white epaper display, 144 pixels by 168, with a 30 fps display rate that measures 1.26in on the diagonal. A hardcoated polycarbonate lens should protect the screen.
It weighs 62g and works with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S running iOS 5, any iPod Touch with iOS 5, and devices running Android 2.3 and up.
If you have a Blackberry, Palm or Windows Phone you are out of luck.
Battery life on a single charge is claimed to be a full week, and the CEO reckons that it will use about five percent of your companion smartphone's charge every day.
The strap is designed to match other watchbands that are available, meaning that you can swap it out for whatever kind, material or design that you want.
Migicovsky said that the watch will be supported by software updates every two to three weeks until it has all of the features that are promised on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter backers will get the Pebble first, and it is estimated that it will take six to eight weeks and 15,000 Pebbles a week to meet these demands. Once these are completed, other pre-ordering customers should start keeping an ear out for the postman. µ