Pebble Takes Advantage of Apple Hype with New Model
The media hype surrounding the debut of the Apple Watch is drawing more attention to the category of wearable devices and arousing interest in the large segment of the market that has not yet purchased a smartwatch or fitness band. It’s that market that Pebble is aiming for with the new Pebble Time.
It’s always an advantage to be one of the first in an emerging field and Pebble got a head start by launching its first smartwatch on Kickstarter back in 2013. The company returned to Kickstarter on Tuesday to introduce its latest model the Pebble Time.
Pebble put this statement on the site, “This is where it all started. Three years ago you supported our vision to make the world’s first real smartwatch. The Kickstarter community and our early adopters believed in us before anyone else even knew we existed. You blew us away with your support and kicked off a worldwide movement!”
This new smartwatch is a slimmer, more sophisticated version of the original Pebble with a color e-paper screen, a microphone and up to seven days of battery life. Other upgrades include a newly designed menu called the “timeline” with three buttons that act as a main control, allow the user to scan the schedule and to check notifications. The overall design is clean and simple for users who want to be able to access the capabilities of the smartwatch quickly and easily.
The Pebble Time will be available with faces in black, white or red and a variety of interchangeable silicone bands. The device has a list price of $199 and is expected to go on sale in May.
The timing is strategic since the Apple Watch is scheduled to make its grand debut sometime in April and is sure to be turning the attention of the tech world to wearable devices. The Pebble Time has a major advantage over many of the smartwatches on the market now since it is compatible with both iOS and Android. That means the millions of iPhone users who have their appetites whetted by the Apple Watch but balk at dropping $349 or more on another new device may be looking for a more affordable alternative.
After being around for a couple of years, Pebble products have a track record that those now entering the market can’t match. And while the pricey, prestigious Apple Watch is sure to be a hit with the conspicuous consumer who doesn’t mind spending a few grand on the latest status symbol, there are plenty of potential buyers out there who just want a smartwatch that can interact with the user’s smartphone at a reasonable price.
The idea of Pebble as an upstart that used a crowdfunding site to launch its first product is likely to appeal to those who admire the company’s entrepreneurial spirit as well as budget conscious buyers who are interested in buying a smartwatch but not enough to pay $349+ for one.