Smartwatch aficionados looking for an option beyond current market offerings will soon be able to order the Pebble Time, a smartwatch which sports a 1.25-inch, color e-paper display with LED backlight. Pebble Technology Corp. has announced that the devices will start shipping on Wednesday to early supporters of its Kickstarter campaign.
More than 78,000 backers brought Pebble Time into being by pledging more than $20 million dollars on Kickstarter, according to the company. Those who participated in the campaign will be the first to receive the smartwatch as part of their reward package. The company is finalizing mobile apps to be available in time for the smartwatch's market debut.
"Production is now in full swing since bringing the factory online at the beginning of May," the company announced on its Kickstarter page. "With things moving along at this rate, we expect all Pebble Time Rewards to be manufactured by the end of the month."
The watch was offered at a discounted price of $159 to early backers, down from its $199 list price. Second-tier supporters will pay $179.
The Pebble Time, which can connect with a user's iPhone or Android smartphone, counts Jawbone, Evernote, RunKeeper, eBay, and Pandora among its partners. The Pebble Steel, made with stainless steel, is water resistant and has an optical hard coating for scratch resistance. It's slated to be available in July.
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The smartwatch features an array of sensors, including a 3D accelerometer, compass, ambient light sensor, and microphone. A USB charging cable with magnetic connector charges the battery -- for up to seven days, the company claims.
Apps are accessed via a new My Pebble screen, formerly known as the Locker. It allows users to organize what's on their Pebble by Watchfaces and Apps/Timeline.
"Our software team has been cranking non-stop to get Pebble Time’s mobile apps ready for their debut next week," the company said in its Kickstarter post. "The apps will work exclusively with Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel when they arrive on iTunes and Google Play. The current Pebble apps on iTunes and Google Play will still be around to manage the original Pebble and Pebble Steel."
The launch follows Apple’s highly publicized and closely watched Apple Watch, which has met with mixed reviews even as it raises consumer awareness of smartwatches in general. LG and Samsung are among those offering Android-based smartwatches. NextMarket Insights projected in a 2013 report that the overall smartwatch market would grow from 15 million watches shipped in 2014 to 373 million by 2020.
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