If you had any doubt that wearable gadgets were about to take off in a big way, you don’t have to look any further than a small start-up called Pebble Technology. Just eight days after putting its Pebble smart watch on Kickstarter, a site that allows people to fund projects and even buy the new products, it raised $4 million. That’s the most cash a project has ever raised on the site.
So what have over 34,000 people bought and given their money to exactly? Smart watches. As the name implies, the semi-new category of devices brings the functionality of smartphones to the time-honored technology of watches. And while there are a few others on the market, made by companies like Sony and WIMM, the Pebble’s standout features are its screen and ability to make a wireless connection to your iPhone.
“We are blown away by the Kickstarter success. We were estimating 100K — we clearly beat our expectations,” Pebble Technology’s founder, Eric Migicovsky, told ABC News.
The Pebble, like its competitors, uses Bluetooth to connect to Android phones, but is the first to have iPhone support. And Migicovsky is aware that the iPhone compatibility is what gives the Pebble a “huge edge.”
“We tapped into something big here. We can’t talk about [our relationship with] Apple, but we are able to do what we are doing so that’s pretty cool,” Migicovsky said.
The Pebble allows you to view text messages, incoming calls, Tweets, etc. on the 144 x 168-resolution e-paper, outdoor-readable display. And pairing is supposed to be easier as well than it is for the others — its Pebble app can be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones and has simple configuration settings.
Speaking of apps, there are apps built in to the watch that allow you to control your phone’s music, track how many miles you’ve run (thanks to the built-in 3-axis accelerometer), and check the weather. But there’s also the Pebble watchapp store, which will let you send watch-specific apps the company and third-party developers make to the watch. The WIMM watch, which we took a look at in this video, has a similar app feature.
The Pebble will cost $115 when it is available. Migicovsky says that Kickstarter backers will get their Pebbles in September. The first 200 Kickstarter backers will get the watch for $99. You can still snatch up the Pebble on Kickstarter now.