CES 2013: $150 Pebble smart watch starts shipping January 23


The Pebble project has gone a long way since its early Kickstarter days. In fact, last April it became Kickstarter’s most highly funded project to date. Nine months later, the customizable electronic-paper watch gets its release date as the company just confirmed in a media conference that the E-Paper Watch will be shipping to its backers on January 23…

The device supports both iOS and Android, supporting any iPod touch and the iPhone 3GS and up. On Apple’s platform, it requires iOS 5 or higher (or Android version 2.3.3 or higher.

Of course, you’ll need an accompanying phone app that talks to the Pebble over Bluetooth. Once it’s paired with your device, the Pebble will relay notifications for incoming messages – both SMS and iMessage – as well as missed calls and other alerts.

Users can also control music playback on their device via the smart watch and Pebble is promising weekly software updates that will enable more features, including more apps, integration with RunKeeper and better accelerometer support.

In case you were wondering, because it uses Bluetooth, the Pebble E-Paper Watch affects about five to ten percent of your device battery life each day.

A live press conference stream is available here.

The Verge has more:

On either iOS or Android, Pebble can receive notifications for texts, emails, and calls. On Android, you can add Google Talk and Google Voice notifications to that mix, while iOS naturally does iMessage since it’s built into the SMS app. It controls music on your phone thanks to AVRCP that works just like it does on Bluetooth headsets — minus the audio, of course. The vibration motor on the Pebble felt strong enough that you won’t miss an alert — it’s certainly more noticeable than a vibration in your pocket.

Here, their hands-on video.

Engadget notes that its 1.26-inch backlit e-paper display – despite its rather paltry 144-by-168 pixel resolution – is easy to read.

Under the hood there’s a Buetooth 4.0 radio, vibration motor, accelerometer and compass which enable some interesting new functionality. For example, just tapping the bezel above the armband lights up the screen. We found Pebble’s UI simple and intuitive – the up and down buttons enable menu navigation, the select button lets you chose items and the back button takes you up one level (and initially brings up the main menu). Allerta’s done a great job at fine tuning the software – scrolling is extremely fluid and the UI is pleasantly responsive.

And their hands-on video right below.

There’s also an API for devs who want to write mobile apps the interact with the Pebble.

You can order yours at GetPebble.com.

All told, it’s a nice version 1.0 product, no?

Unfortunately, for the time being Apple’s rumored iWatch, sadly, remains just that: a nice water cooler topic.