Can Pebble Compete with New Smartwatches?
With all the hype over the Apple Watch and new wearable devices now being developed by traditional watchmakers, it’s easy to forget that the Pebble was the first real smartwatch on the market. As the latest batch of Pebble models come out, critics are questioning whether the humble smartwatch has what it takes to stand up against the heavy duty competition now available.
Technologist Stephen Fluin told the L.A. Times, “They’re in a very difficult position right now. They were the first smartwatch of any kind of scale, they sold more than a million of the original, and they have a lot of favor in the community. Flash forward to now after a year of Android Wear and the recent launch of Apple Watch, and the realities of their project have become more apparent.”
The Pebble had a very interesting start in life as one of the most successful fundraising campaigns ever launched on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter but that was back in 2012 and now the Palo Alto-based company has to face up to the tech mega-giants Apple and Google. Both have billions of dollars available to recruit top quality talent and keep developing new technology—money that Pebble does not have.
Another problem facing the tiny company is the lack of ability to identify and cater to the Pebble audience. Is the Pebble just another geeky gadget or a less-expensive, more basic alternative to the Apple and Google smartwatches?
Dan Ward of app development firm Detroit Labs pointed out the problems faced by Pebble in the ever-growing smartwatch field. “Design is just as important as what’s under the hood,” Ward told the L.A. Times. “When Motorola first launched its smartwatch, there was extra buzz around the Moto 360 because it’s gorgeous. Then with Apple, we saw it strategically launch in six designer boutiques around the world, which is the first time anyone has done that.”
None of these mean that the Pebble can be counted out yet. With its appealing simplicity, high battery life and compatibility with both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems, the Pebble is likely to be around for a while.