The Pebble is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation and released in 2013 that was funded via the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. It features a black and white e-paper display, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, ambient light sensors and an accelerometer, enabling its use as an activity tracker. The Pebble is compatible with Android and iOS devices. When connected to a phone, it can receive a vibrating alert to text messages, emails, incoming calls, and notifications from social media accounts. It can also act as a remote controller for the phone, or for cameras such as the GoPro. As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1000 applications.
Hardware: Pebble can send users notifications when they receive an email. A Pebble attached to a bike, displaying bicycling speed and distance, as well as timeThe watch has a 1.26-inch 144 × 168 pixel black and white e-paper display using an ultra low-power “transflective LCD” manufactured by Sharp with a backlight, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, ambient light sensors and a three-axis accelerometer. It can communicate with an Android or iOS device using both Bluetooth 2.1 and Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy) using Stonestreet One’s Bluetopia+MFi software stack. Bluetooth 4.0 with low energy (LE) support was not initially enabled, however, a firmware update in Nov, 2013 enabled it.
Software: As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1000 applications. These include notifications for emails, calls, text messages, social media activity, stock prices; activity tracking (movement, sleep, estimates of calories burned); remote control of smartphones, cameras and home appliances; turn-by-turn directions using the GPS receiver in the smartphone.
Pebble SDK: Pebble Technology announced that an open Pebble software development kit (SDK) would be released before shipment of the watches began. A proof-of-concept watchface SDK and documentation were released on April 12, 2013. The released SDK was limited to development for watch faces, simple applications and games. The second release of the SDK was released on May 17, 2013, adding support for two-way communication between Pebbles and smartphones running iOS or Android via the AppMessage framework.
The first edition of the Pebble was released to mixed reviews. The design was acclaimed for being innovative, and the watch vibration results in higher awareness of phone alerts. For the Pebble Steel model reviewers noted the large price jump from $149 to $249 USD, the continued lack of touch-activation, and the cosmetic overhaul described as “less-geeky”.
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