Kickstarter fans and gearheads have been waiting a while for news on the Pebble smartwatch, which raised $10 million on the crowdfunding platform earlier this year. And today at CES, the company finally announced when the watch would ship: January 23. The Pebble watch release date is only weeks away!
The draw of the Pebble watch is its coordination with your phone. It can communicate via Bluetooth with both Androids and iPhones to do things like sync your running data, in the case of local partner RunKeeper. The design is almost obsessively simplistic – there are just four buttons – and it offers an e-paper display. Oh, and the company announced a couple of new color options. The watch will come in black, red, gray, orange, and white.
As The Verge’s Dieter Bohn writes, having played around with one, “There’s no accounting for taste, but in the current crop of smartwatch contenders the Pebble has one of the most elegant and clean designs around.”
In terms of functionality, in addition to the RunKeeper integration, the watch will allow you to receive call and text alerts, and manage music playing through your phone.
If those who donated on Kickstarter like what they get this could end up being a huge win for the platform, the delivery of one of its most coveted and buzzed about consumer products. But as for the watch itself, I’m something of a skeptic. I get why it appeals to the tech and design crowds, but I can’t remember the last time I found myself wishing I had a watch. As a RunKeeper user, I can think of use cases where I’d like it, but push alerts are something I’m trying to distance myself from minute-to-minute, not strap to my wrist. Although, according to a report in TechCrunch, the RunKeeper integration is delayed until March of 2013.
This is a geek product, and I mean that in the best possible way. But try as I might, I don’t see smart watches going mainstream any time soon.