Pebble Watch: Behind The Smartwatch Sensation


But the iPhone part is crucial to the Pebble's success says the team. No smart watch has yet worked with Apple's popular phone. When the watch is paired with it or Android phones you will be able to send apps to the watch and customize the watch with different faces. You will also be able to have text messages or email alerts sent to the watch.

For now, Pebble is working with Runkeeper on an integrated app that will record your runs, including speed and distance. Pebble will also release a software developer kit (or SDK) for its hardware later this year, which will allow other software developers to make apps for the watch.

Software development is one focus of the Pebble team; the other is the hardware and getting the 85,000 watches built before the fall deadline that they set for the Kickstarter customers.

Kickstarter supporters were able to buy the watch for $115 during the campaign period in April. The watch will ship to them first and Pebble plans to bring the watch to the general market in early 2013 through retailers and its own website.

"The watch will be ready for Kickstarter backers in the fall," Migicovsky assures me as I ask him if they will make the deadline -- considering that as of my visit all he had to show was a prototype that was running an automated set of screens. You couldn't change the time on it and had to adjust it with an external remote control.

Pebble has secured a factory in China to build the watch, and as of today, I am told they now have working prototypes in the office. The company still plans to meet the deadline and will start production in the fall as well. But Migicovsky admits there have been more challenges in building the Pebble than the InPulse, which was manufactured in San Jose. "Lead times, language barriers, time zones," he tells me, are some of the ongoing obstacles.

Costs have also been an issue. While the cost to build the watch has gone up, the retail price will remain the same so that people will buy it.

"There are not too many in the world yet, but come this fall there will be a whole bunch more," Migicovsky assures me one again. They've promised 85,000, of course, but that all depends on how much work they can get done in that condo.

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