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Pebble: The brilliant stealth wearable Apple's Watch doesn't see coming


I just like Pebble's approach. It's not a computer. It's not designed to be used without a phone - it's just a nifty little low notification screen/controller, that happens to be on your wrist, not your phone.

I agree. The Pebble/iWatch/Wear arguments reminds me of the PDA wars with the first generation Palm Pilot, fifteen years back. The big name competitor then were the WinCE devices.

Back then, I had a Palm Pilot, and a friend had a Cassiopea. My PDA was low-resolution, monochrome, light, pocketable, and ran for a month on 3 AAA batteries. It was basically a battery-powered Franklin Daytimer. It hooked up to a cradle that plugged into any serial port and synced with my PC trivially. My friend's PDA was high-resolution (for the day) colour, had sound (stereo!), rechargeable batteries that lasted six hours (at best), was almost size and weight of a paperback book, and, like Nosferatu, it was powerless in sunlight. I could get to most of the functions from the four buttons, my friend had to root around with the stylus to get to the right menu to access functions. I could enter the same data in Graffiti in about a third of the time it took him with Jot (although his speed increased over time, whereas mine was constant).

Oh, and to sync that WinCE device with a PC required two of us spending a Thursday night getting Windows Networking to communicate with the thing.

It was really hard to compare the two, because although they were both PDAs, they were vastly different in capabilities and limitations. It wasn't that one was "better" than the other, because they were doing different things.

I much preferred my Palm Pilot then, and I much prefer my Pebble now, for the same reasons. Both do a few things extremely well, compared to competitors that have more features, but don't execute them as well.

As the technology advanced, I eventually did get a WinCE device and dumped my Palm Pilot, because the WinCE tech was advancing faster than the Pilot was. Of course, that's because it had a lot more to improve; the Pilot got a lot better out of the starting gate. I suspect the same thing could happen with the Pebble over time. If Wear devices start getting battery lives of a week, and sunlight readability, Pebble will be in a real fight. But that's a ways off, I think.

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