After teasing an announcement with a week-long countdown clock on its website, Pebble today revealed exactly what it has had up its sleeve. As many speculated, the company unveiled the successor to the original Pebble watch, and it’s called the Pebble Time.
Design & Features
So how does the new Pebble Time compare to the original Pebble? The biggest change comes in the form of its screen. While the previous model has a black and white e-paper display, the new model boasts a color version. Supporting 64 colors, it obviously doesn’t have the same capabilities as an LCD or OLED display, but it does allow for battery life of up to 7 days – the same as the previous generation.
The display is protected by Gorilla Glass and a stainless steel bevel. The rest of the case is plastic. Measuring 9.5mm thick, the case is actually 20% slimmer than the original Pebble. Like the older model, the display is non-touch – physical buttons are still needed to operate it. However, thanks to the inclusion of a microphone, you can now send voice replies to notifications and dictate short voice notes.
Pebble Time also features a smart accessory port which hardware developers will be able to create sensors and smart straps for. Pebble says it will be revealing more information about the port soon.
Pebble has created a brand new interface called timeline for the Pebble Time. It organizes your information by past, present, and future. You can scroll backwards and forwards in time to see schedules, reminders, emails, fitness stats, and more. There’s also a new app menu with new app faces. Pebble says it plans to bring timeline to the original Pebble and Pebble Steel but hasn’t specified a release date yet. All existing Pebble apps and watchfaces are compatible with the new Pebble Time.
Pricing & Availability
As it did with the original version, Pebble is launching the Pebble Time on Kickstarter first. However, backers shouldn’t have to wait too long to receive the finished product. The funding goal of $500,000 was smashed 20 minutes after the campaign launched, and the estimated delivery date is May this year.
The Pebble Time comes in three colors: a black watch case with black stainless steel bevel, a white watch case with a silver stainless steel bezel, and a red watch case with a black stainless steel bevel. All three come with color-matching silicone bands, but you can replace it with any standard 22mm watch band. It will retail for $199, though early backers can get one for $159.
Pebble’s announcement comes one week before the start of Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, where we expect to see a bunch of new wearables. In addition, the Apple Watch is due for release in April. As successful as the first Pebble was, there wasn’t the same level of competition as there is now, so it will be interesting to see how the new model fares – though it’s certainly off to a flying start.
My first impressions of the Pebble Time, and I should point out that I’m a happy Pebble Steel owner, are somewhat mixed. The addition of the color display and microphone are welcome improvements, and I like the look of the new interface. What I’m less sure about is the design. The bevel looks a little on the bulky side, and I’d like to see an all-stainless steel version.
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