Pebble Makes Official Debut at CES, Launching This Month

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Pebble, the customizable, smartphone-syncing, e-paper watch, is the most successful Kickstarter project of all time, having funded over $10 million dollars from almost 69,000 backers since its reveal last May. To say that many people have been eagerly awaiting this thing is a bit of an understatement, but today, the Pebble was finally, officially unveiled at CES. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky gave a rundown of some the smartwatch\’s features during the presentation, including its app functionality, notification systems, and changeable displays.

\"\"But first, Migicovsky finally revealed that the Pebble has entered mass production, and will first start shipping to Kickstarter backers on January 23rd. He said that it\’ll take six to eight weeks to get the smartwatch to all of its backers, but once that\’s up, pre-order customers will get their watches too. The Pebble can be ordered on the company\’s website for $150 at the moment.

For those that aren\’t familiar with the device, the Pebble itself sports a 1.26-inch, 144 x 168 resolution, LCD e-paper display that comes with an anti-scratch protective coat and was built to be readable in direct sunlight. It has a 30 frames per second refresh rate to keep things more fluid than the slower, e-ink displays on devices like the Kindle. It\’s just 38.2 grams too, making it useful for working out, and is said to last 7 days on a single battery charge.  The Pebble is also waterproof, and to that end its tiny USB charging cable comes with a magnetic head that snaps right onto the watch. Bluetooth 4.0 will also be included. It\’ll come in red, white, black, orange, and gray when it launches.

After divulging that info, the Pebble boss demoed some of the watch\’s nifty features. Its displays, or \”watchfaces,\” can be changed to everything from a standard analog or digital setup to sliding text — i.e., \”nine twenty two\” instead of \”9:22\” — to even binary code. Pebble\’s working with third-party developers to create more of these, so expect to see even more ways to check the time in the future.

Of course, the big deal with Pebble is its connectivity with various smartphones and other smart devices, specifically those running Android 2.3.3 and up, and iOS 5 and up. There\’ll be an app available in the App Store and Google Play store upon launch, which will serve as users\’ way to manage the smartwatch\’s settings and features. The Pebble is said to shave off about five to ten percent of a connected device\’s battery life per day, by the way.

From there, users can control music, read incoming emails, SMS (and iMessage on iOS) messages, Facebook, Twitter, calendar, and weather alerts, be notified of and reject incoming phone calls, and utilize various web applications right from the Pebble. The display is only in black and white, so things won\’t look too flashy, but the simplicity and apparent fluidness of the device made navigation look easy.

An accelerometer has also been built into the watch for gesture control; for instance, a simple shake of the wrist will turn on the Pebble\’s backlight. There are other features, like a golf rangefinder and basic fitness tracking tech, but those couldn\’t be shown off on the CES stage.

\"\"While the Pebble certainly looks impressive on its own, the company is stressing the idea of making it futureproof through various updates going forward. Pebble likely didn\’t anticipate the kind of response it would receive through its Kickstarter campaign, so calling the Pebble things like \”an evolving platform\” seems to make sense. Either way, the smashing success it has had before it even launches would appear to indicate that there is life in the wristwatch yet — so long as it adapts to the times.

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