Pebble, maker of the popular Pebble and Pebble Steel smartwatch, has revealed a new model, and also returned to the scene of its original triumph — Kickstarter. It’s called the Pebble Time, and it sports a color e Ink screen, but it still promises an impressive 7-day battery life. The watch looks very similar to the image of a Pebble with a color screen that was spotted by 9to5Mac just one day before its official introduction.
Updated on 07-17-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added in news of Pebble Time’s official launch online through Best Buy and Target.
You can now buy it online through Best Buy and Target
Now that the crowdfunding campaign is over, and many, if not all, early backers have their Pebble Time watches, Pebble is getting ready to sell its smartwatch through retail channels. Pre-orders began late this June, but now the Pebble Time is available for purchase through Best Buy and Target for $200.
Pebble used Kickstarter to fund its new watch, and estimated the Pebble Time would ship in May. An update to the campaign stated that mass production kicked off in the beginning of the month, so early backers should have gotten the device before May ended, as originally promised. Some may have gotten the Pebble Time during the first weeks of June instead, though.
The Pebble Time quickly zipped past its $500,000 funding goal in just 17 minutes, hit $1 million in about half an hour, and shot up above $3 million before noon on the day of its launch. Kickstarter confirmed that the Pebble Time hit $1 million faster than any other project in history.
— Kickstarter (@kickstarter) February 24, 2015
Standard smartwatch functions and a color screen
In addition to the always on, color E Ink screen, the new Pebble has a built in microphone, so you can respond to notifications with your voice. Voice responses work with most Android apps, including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and many more. However, those with iPhones will find that voice responses won’t work with Gmail notifications at the moment, though Pebble promises that will change soon. The company posted a new video showing the device in action. It also highlights the new Timeline interface, which is explained in the following section.
You’ll also be able to store all the apps and watch faces you want on your Pebble Time, as the 8 app limit has been removed. A new sports app will bring you MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, and NCAAM scores on the go, and voice responses will work with Android notifications that can be responded to with text.
The watch has step tracking and vibrating alarms, just like you get with most fitness trackers. To top it all off, Pebble says the Time is compatible with all of the 6,500 apps and watchfaces that already exist for the regular Pebble and Pebble Steel. However, developers will need to update their apps to support color.
In terms of design, the Pebble Time is a tad slimmer than the previous Pebbles, coming in at just 9.5mm thick. It’s water resistant, just like the old Pebble watches, and you can use any 22mm watch band you want. The Time will come in three color options to start – black, white, and red. Any watch bought on Kickstarter comes with a special engraving, too, so you can say that you were one of the few, the proud, the Kickstarter backers.
New timeline interface
However, perhaps the coolest thing about the new Pebble is its timeline interface. As Pebble explains it, “Now your notifications, news, reminders and events are laid out chronologically instead of being trapped inside separate apps.” You simply scroll through your notifications with the buttons on the side, and see everything laid out before you chronologically. There is also easy access to quick actions.
Related: Read our review of the Apple Watch
The timeline is the “new app menu,” Pebble says, and it will load and cache apps whenever you need them. Pebble software is still an open platform, and developers can design new apps to suit it. Pins can be placed on timelines to help keep track of evolving stories, like sporting events, deals, traffic, and the weather.
Pebble says that the interface will show you ‘Past, Present, and Future events you care about right from your watch,” adding that timeline pins will work for calendars, sports scores, and weather at launch. More features will be added as time goes on.
The Pebble is one of the few cross-platform smartwatches on sale, with the majority of other examples running Android Wear so are incompatible with the iPhone. The Pebble Time is no different — It will support iPhones with iOS 8 and Android phones with 4.0 and up installed.
Buy your piece of the future at: Best Buy.
Updated on 06-12-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news of preorders starting on June 22 for non-Kickstarter buyers.
Updated on 02-24-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news of the color E Ink Pebble Time smartwatch launch on Kickstarter. Later added news of new funding records.