back to article STOP! Pebble Time: New color watch clocks up $5m on Kickstarter

Pebble today put its first color-screen smartwatch on sale on Kickstarter – and raised $5.4m from 26,000 backers in just a few hours. The startup's Pebble Time quickly blew through its rather modest fundraising goal of $500,000. The biz sold out of $159-priced watches, although you can still order one for $179, two for $338, …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Interesting:

    Pebble Time also has a smart accessory port, enabling hardware developers to build sensors and smart straps that connect directly to the watch. Much more on this coming soon!

    -from the Pebble Time Kickstarter Page.

  2. Oli 1

    Will be purchasing this as soon as its generally available

    Pebble v1 was a truly exceptional device, i have no doubts this will follow suit.

    All round goodness for a change!

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      I am intrested

      But I think I'll wait and see if there are any bugs, I'll pay the extra $20 to avoid the chance of v1.0 hardware problems.

      1. D@v3

        Re: I am intrested

        from my experience of being a v1 kickstarter. i did have issues with my original hardware. they sent me a new one, no problems since.

        They have some of the best after sales customer service i have experienced. Might take a while to get things done, because of the massive volumes they are dealing with, but it gets done.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      $100, sure. $120, maybe. $160-180... ehhhh

      It will go on sale in big box retailers eventually

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Meh...

    If it's not rated to 100M depth, I can't use it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Meh...

      If you used it at 100M depth, the smartphone it was paired to wouldn't work anyway. Something to do with water blocking radio signals... and buggering electrical kit by the conduction of electricity by ions.

      .

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Meh...

        "Something to do with water blocking radio signals..."

        There will be an app for that

        "and buggering electrical kit by the conduction of electricity by ions."

        ...there's already an app for that.

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: Meh...

          "Something to do with water blocking radio signals..."

          Deploy the towed VLF antenna.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Meh...

      It's better then the apple watch, can't even shower with that.

      1. psychonaut

        Re: Meh...

        to be fair, he didnt say underwater depth. im guessing he's living in a deep, dark hole - the location of which is possibly inside his own arse

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: Meh...

      "If it's not rated to 100M depth, I can't use it."

      It claims you can swim with it, but not underwater.

      I guess swimming in air counts as swimming now...

    4. Salts

      Re: Meh...

      My watch is supposed to be waterproof to 300 meters, the only thing I can think of to do with this fantastic fact is to go out in a boat with a box of cat 5 and see if it will survive 305 meters.

      1. NotWorkAdmin

        Re: Meh...

        Er, just saying. 100M water resistant doesn't mean you can submerge something to that depth and expect it to survive. Water resistance is quoted based on lab conditions. In the real world water is moving about and it makes quite a difference.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh...

      > If it's not rated to 100M depth, I can't use it.

      That's like saying you won't buy a TV because it's not rated to 100M; it's completely true but not in any way relevant.

      This is a smart-watch which hooks up to a mobile phone, not a tool for hardcore technical diving.

  4. Camilla Smythe

    Monster Product

    Shame about the marketing..

    http://i.imgur.com/CduFiPR.png

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are established companies allowed on Kickstarter?

    I thought the whole idea of crowd funding sites was to help give those with fresh ideas and limited resources a bit of cash to develop a truly innovative product. Surely this new watch is just the latest iteration in Pebble's lineup, that stretches back to 2008?

    I guess Kickstarter are OK with companies using them as what amounts to another sales channel, just as long as they get their cut.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Why are established companies allowed on Kickstarter?

      There is nothing in the Kickstarter rules to prohibit an established company using it.

      Just because a company has sold a previous generation of product to happy customers doesn't mean that the company has the cash flow to tool up for a new product - so the idea of gauging interest and acquiring cash on crowd-funding sites before making a big investment in manufacturing still holds.

    2. Eric Olson

      Re: Why are established companies allowed on Kickstarter?

      Like clockwork, this complaint comes up with any Kickstarter. Be it from a company who has another product out there, an artist who wants to support a side project, or some other "how dare they!" group.

      Here's the reality: Kickstarter was never solely for charity cases who were reduced to Oliver levels of begging for more gruel. It has always been for-profit. In fact, I believe Kickstarter strictly forbids any kind of non-profit or charitable projects; there are other sites for that.

      Kickstarter is in the business of helping people or companies get the word out for a risky or unlikely-to-find-traditional-funding project that will almost certainly be commercial in nature. Yes, it can help struggling artists find their money muse, but almost all the success stories on Kickstarter that create eye-watering figures come from people who are or were established players. Reading through the most-funded list will quickly reveal a pattern: People or companies who knew what they were doing.

      The problem with bank or VC funding is that they want a huge possible market, even if it never materializes. VCs take it a bit further and also demand a share in the profits and/or company that comes from it. And if they get the vast percentage of the company, they can quickly and easily force the inventor or project team out the door the moment things turn from dicey to profitable. Kickstarter gets around this by explicitly stating that backers only get what is outlined in the rewards and are not entitled to any share of the profits, revenue, company, etc.

      So while it might offend your sensibilities, there are tens of thousands of people who want a specific product, but that's not enough to make someone stand-up and take notice at the bank. A yawn and a kick in the ass is all you would get from them; this way, that extremely small number of people will be the market, and if things go really well, you might be able to sell a million.

  6. tin 2

    I logged onto the website at the reveal time, and got a coutdown, then nothing. A refresh then gave me a Guru Meditation!

    Didn't find anything out about the big reveal, but was pleased to see that error again for old time sake, albeit not wrapped in a big red flashy box.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      It'd be lovely to say that Kickstarter used the Amiga Guru Meditation because the Amiga's BIOS firmware was called Kickstart....

      ... but it's just a coincidence; Kickstarter uses Varnish server which adopted that error message in homage.

    2. AbelSoul
      Thumb Up

      Re: Guru Meditation!

      +1 for the Guru.

      Software Failure.

      Press Left Mouse Button To Continue.

  7. ThomH Silver badge

    "back-lit color e-paper"?

    Eink itself, the trademarked thing from the specific company, is explicitly opaque and reflective. A back light wouldn't be visible because the screen is in the way, like putting a back light behind a piece of cardboard. Readers like the Kindle Paperwhite are front-lit. Wikipedia's entry on electronic paper (yes, yes, I know) explicitly contrasts it with back-lit displays.

    So does anybody have an educated guess as to what sort of display we're talking about here?

    1. Patrick O'Reilly

      Re: "back-lit color e-paper"?

      E-paper, not e-Ink.

      The screen on the Pebble is just an LCD which works best when backlit as the white pixels are completely transparent unlike eInk which are an opaque white hence requiring front lighting.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: "back-lit color e-paper"?

        Yes, like I said, Wikipedia's entry on electronic paper contrasts it with back-lit displays. Normal terminology considers any sort of LCD to be an entirely different thing from electronic paper. A functional difference being that electronic paper benefits from increased external light, back-lit LCDs suffer from it, outdoors daylight usually subtracting significantly from the perceived contrast and gamut of the latter.

        So I guess they're just playing fast and loose with the terminology.

        1. Kirk Northrop

          Re: "back-lit color e-paper"?

          It's a technology from Sharp which uses a line addressable display, and some sort of memory solution that means it uses 15uA when static.

          As for readability the original pebble, based on the same technology, is fully readable in bright sunlight and indeed this helps much like it does with eInk. So they must be doing something different/right.

  8. Zot

    It animates so quickly!

    How the heck did they do that? Amazing.

    I think it does need a little more contrast though, as the colours are a bit pale.

  9. The FunkeyGibbon

    It looks impressive

    But how essential is it? I mean I can't imagine living without my smartphone but I'm finding it hard to believe that this device or the Apple Watch for that matter, trancends the category of 'niche non-essential gadget'.

    How do people here feel about the previous version or alternatives like the Moto360?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It looks impressive

      "But how essential is it? I mean I can't imagine living without my smartphone"

      How old are and how long have you had a smartphone?

      The use case for the first smartphones was not really the mass market, everybody will be gagging for one. Especially when they were not all that smart at the time. For that matter, the first mobile phones were a niche market. People grew up without them so they were a nice but expensive toy in the eyes of the sort of people who nowadays can't live without them simply because society wasn't geared up to "expect" everyone to be contactable 24/7 on an instants notice.

    2. Champ

      Re: It looks impressive

      > But how essential is it?

      Few things are essential (air, water, food...), and modern consumer electronics definitely don't justify that tag.

      But...as an original Pebble backer on Kickstarter, I can tell you that having a Pebble has transformed my relationship with my phone. Where previously it chirruped to tell me I had a new message, and then the question of "What message? From whom?" would nag me to fish my phone out of my pocket, only to find another piece of bacon - now, I just glance at my watch, and can then ignore it. Conversely, if it *is* an important email/text, then I'm aware straightaway, and can deal with it there and then.

      I love my original Pebble so much...I've joined the new Kickstarter campaign for a Pebble Time!

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: It looks impressive

      I've got one of the original Pebbles, and I like it, but I don't think it's a must buy for everyone.

      Firstly, I like wearing a watch, I find having to dig my phone out to look at the time takes an annoyingly long time. So if you don't currently wear a watch, then really why do you want a smart one?

      Mainly what I use the 'smart' part of the Pebble for is reading my notifications, and it's surprisingly useful for that. The best way I've found of describing it is, if you've played GTA:V you'll have seen text messages pop up in the side of the screen that you can glance at, or you can get your character's phone out and read the whole thing. That's pretty much the experience of using a Pebble right there.

      I can quickly read a text easily enough, but an email is easier to read on my phone (or computer), but I can get a quick idea of the gist of it, and if I need to pay attention to it or not.

      As for all the apps they promote, I've not really tried them, I have no interest in replying to texts from my watch, I don't need an activity tracker (it would read 0), apparently there's a PayPal app, I have no idea what that is for.

      As far as the battery goes, I get 7-8 days on average, so it's fine as long as I remember to put it on charge every week, I probably use it less than some people though, YMMV.

      ** edit, don't forget, that you'll need BLuetooth switched on, on your phone which will probably reduce the life there. Some people say it improves because you're not using the phone's screen as much, that's not the case for me.

  10. treboR

    Going to skip this one

    I have one of the original pebbles and I think I'll skip this one. Their customer support was atrocious - to the point of being non-existent. That wouldn't have been such an issue except that they had some pretty enormous problems delivering on time, and then build quality issues, especially in the screen, when the watches finally did ship. They've replaced mine twice due to faults with the screen, and the new one has developed the same fault a third time.

    It's a nice idea, and I do find myself using it, so like a smartphone, I'd miss it if I had to give it up now, but sad to say the next smartwatch I buy will not be a pebble.

  11. raving angry loony

    Wait, what?

    I got rid of my wrist-based, easily banged up watch when cell phones came out. If I had to carry something that had the time on it, I didn't need two of the things. Happy times.

    So now we have a device that lets me know if my phone is ringing (hey, I can HEAR the damn thing already, OK?), lets me know if my phone is sending out an alarm (ibid.), lets me know if my phone calendar needs attention (ibid.), and generally only tells me that I need to take my phone out to get any detailed info?

    I smell... hype. Lots and lots of hype.

    That or I've missed something. But looking at it more closely - I don't think I have.

    1. tin 2

      Re: Wait, what?

      Hmmm. Well of course it's personal opinion and horses for courses, but I got a Pebble steel purely for having a slightly unusual watch (so for changable faces). The notifications sort of came with it without me asking and as it turns out I find them very useful.

      Unlike you I *can't* hear (nor feel) my phone, now I never miss anything, and I can take the quickest of glances at the watch to see if I need to interrupt whatever I'm doing right now, which is normally the case. The phone stays in the pocket a lot more.

      As I say, I quite like the notification part, and I didn't expect that I would even use it. That said I don't think I'd go full on smartwatch. Also £200 for the tiniest extension of my phone? Maybe you're spot on given that you're not looking for a watch first and foremost.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      >I got rid of my wrist-based, easily banged up watch when cell phones came out.

      I still wear a watch - when my phone battery runs out, I am still able to tell the time. Phone battery last longer because I'm not using its screen to tell the time. Watch battery last years. I have an active job and I'm a clumsy sort - yet my watch doesn't get 'banged up', due to the steel bezel and sapphire crystal; I only worry about damaging it if I'm using diamond cutting discs.

      That said, none of the current 'smart watches' really appeal to be, though Casio and Citizen come closer to my desired balance of function against form than others.

      >I smell... hype. Lots and lots of hype. That or I've missed something. But looking at it more closely - I don't think I have.

      Perform a time and motion study on how long it takes to get your phone from your pocket and unlock it, read the time, lock your phone and return it to your pocket. Ditto an incoming notification.

      Socially, I don't always want a loud ring tone on my phone.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I only worry about damaging it if I'm using diamond cutting discs

        If you're using a diamond cutting disk in a way your wristwatch is at risk, it's not the watch I'd be most worried about!!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I only worry about damaging it if I'm using diamond cutting discs

          >If you're using a diamond cutting disk in a way your wristwatch is at risk, it's not the watch I'd be most worried about!!

          Ha ha! It's the not the cutting disc directly, but the resulting dust with diamond particles in that can damage watch faces.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, what?

      [I got rid of my wrist-based, easily banged up watch when cell phones came out. If I had to carry something that had the time on it, I didn't need two of the things. Happy times.]

      Alternatively, I've always worn a watch. Horses for courses and all that.

      [So now we have a device that lets me know if my phone is ringing (hey, I can HEAR the damn thing already, OK?)]

      Not if it's on silent, like I have my personal phone 90% of the time I'm in the office.

      [lets me know if my phone is sending out an alarm (ibid.)]

      Instantly lets me know what messages/texts I have incoming.

      [lets me know if my phone calendar needs attention (ibid.)]

      Ditto above.

      [and generally only tells me that I need to take my phone out to get any detailed info?]

      It has enough screen space to indicate the sender and subject. That's usually enough to decide if I want to action it now or later.

      [I smell... hype. Lots and lots of hype.]

      I smell a useful tool - one that actually puts me in charge of my phone.

      [That or I've missed something. But looking at it more closely - I don't think I have.]

      It might not be for you, but the kickstarter response shows that it's right for lots of people. I use mine to skip music tracks whlist driving, monitor my daily exercise, get football goal flashes, get newsflashes from RSS feeds, and tell the time.

      I find my pebble so useful, that I will probably upgrade to the Colour version if the battey life is similar to the Pebble classic.

    4. Law

      Re: Wait, what?

      "hey, I can HEAR the damn thing already, OK?"

      I like my phone on silent in the office, so my pebble steel is awesome for letting me know when I have calls or texts.

      My wife carries her phone in her bag, which muffles the ringer... I got her a watch because she never picked up when I rang her... Now she does.

      I don't have to carry my phone around the house with me when home, but still get the messages and even do which replies from my watch. Helps filter whether I check my phone when reading kids or pick up when walking out and about.

      It wasn't so long ago smart phones were considered pointless by those who didn't have one, now most people have one... I mean, who needs a phone to check email and the web, you have a PC for that. If you're out then you shouldn't need to reply instantly anyway, that's what phone calls are for stupid. I have a smaller mp3 player for music, etc etc. I have maps for navigation and they don't direct me to the middle of lakes, etc etc etc.

      One size does not fit all... One mans(or woman's) pointless device in anothers useful gadget.

      1. John Gamble

        Re: Wait, what?

        "I like my phone on silent in the office, so my pebble steel is awesome for letting me know when I have calls or texts."

        And in one unusual use case, I was in a home where the phone could barely pick up a signal if it was in the kitchen (the closest room to the road) and nowhere else. So I left my phone in the kitchen, and my Pebble could notify me if I had a text come in.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Wait, what?

          Getting your phone out when it's raining or you're carrying your shopping or cycling or you're in a meeting or on a date or ... is not ideal.

  12. RainForestGuppy

    Convenience

    The big advantage of pebble that it is water resistant. My phone isn't.

    When skiing or cycling (off-road) or hiking I may have a headphones on and the ability to change tracks without having to fish a smartphone out of my pocket or rucsack is great. Same goes when I get a call or message, because I can see who it is on my pebble I can then decide whether I need to reply or ignore it without having to get my phone wet or muddy.

    1. Yugguy

      Re: Convenience

      " Same goes when I get a call or message, because I can see who it is on my pebble I can then decide whether I need to reply or ignore it without having to get my phone wet or muddy."

      That assumes though that we somehow have to, or need to, respond to all communcations immediately.

      When I run I enjoy that hour of solitude, I don't want it disturbed. I carry my phone in case I have a problem, twist my ankle or whatever.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Convenience

        So what? When you're designing a product you don't ask "are there people who won't want it" you ask "are there people who will". It's pretty damn obvious lots of people DO want to see/respond to notifications immediately or at least have the option to.

  13. Gavin Chester
    Meh

    Almost backed it again..

    My Early bird pledge went wrong, so its the regular $179 plus $10 shipping option now. Its harder to justify a $10 saving over retail as the Shop offers free worldwide shipping.

    I may as well wait till my Pebble V1 dies. A 2nd time around engraved message is a nice touch but not a deal maker for me..

    1. Guy Geens

      Re: Almost backed it again..

      I seriously considered (and I was early enough for the early bird offer). My V1 Pebble is still OK (I'll need a new bracelet soon). And then there's the 50€ import tax.

      I finally decided to wait until it's in a local store.

      1. Kirk Northrop

        Re: Almost backed it again..

        Apparently they are bulk shipping them to their EU distributor and on from there this time, so *hopefully* no import duty. I have still budgeted for it though.

  14. boardslider

    Treated myself to a Pebble Steel for Xmas and it's turned out to be the best gadget I didn't know I needed! Will probably have to wait until next Xmas to justify an upgrade though :-)

  15. mix

    I've backed it for two reasons, I bought a retail pebble steel recently and it is excellent so I want one of these asap! I also assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the dollar to pound ratio when it's released would mean a saving.

  16. The Vociferous Time Waster

    FFS

    but can I TALK IN TO MY WRIST like MICHAEL KNIGHT yet? If not it is about as much use to me as a non flying car

    Also where is my genetically engineered miniature elephant (the size of a cat) that I asked science to sort out for me ages ago

    1. psychonaut

      Re: FFS

      we'll see how your mini elephant goes against my mini giraffe idea.

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