LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2013 -- It's a very good day for the Pebble smart watch. The popular watch will start shipping this month, first to people who offered financial backing online, then to anyone else who wants one.
Last April, the Pebble -- a watch that pairs with an iPhone and Android phones -- was announced on Kickstarter with a flashy video and lots of cool design images of the device. Within days the start-up received over 85,000 orders for the watch and over $10 million dollars from people who wanted to back the company. It shattered all Kickstarter records and the company promised to ship the watch to those eager fans in September.
September came and went without the watches. Now, they are finally ready and the company has announced, here at CES 2013, that the watches are rolling off the manufacturing lines and will start shipping to customers on Jan. 23.
"When we saw the massive support on Kickstarter we knew we had the opportunity to take Pebble to the mainstream," Eric Migicovsky, the CEO and founder of Pebble, told ABC News. "We feel the time we spent was making the hardware rock solid as well as the software. We wanted to make sure the core of Pebble was great. That meant we shipped a bit later than we expected to."
When the watch starts shipping most of the features Pebble advertised in its original video (which showed a quickly-assembled prototype) will work on the neatly designed watch. You will be able to pair the phone with an iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth, download the Pebble app, and configure your watch to show you your text messages, emails and missed calls. You will also be able to play your music and easily change the watch faces.
What you won't be able to do is use the RunKeeper fitness app Pebble had shown. That app, which lets you see the info in your phone's RunKeeper app on your wrist, will be coming later, along with other apps.
"Unfortunately we weren't able to deliver the RunKeeper feature. We are working on the feature hand in hand with RunKeeper and we expect it to come out in a couple of months," Migicovsky said.
The watch has an LCD e-paper screen that can be seen in direct sunlight -- similar to the one on the Amazon Kindle e-reader -- as well as a backlight so you can see it the dark. You can just flick the watch on your wrist or tap a bottom to turn on the light. It also fits well, unlike some of the chunky iPod Nano-like watches that have been made. And it's water-resistant, so you can swim or work out while wearing it.
So what's next for the Pebble? Migicovsky says the first priority is to fill all the orders people made for it.
"We are still seeing a massive amount of interest in Pebble," he said. "After we closed the Kickstarter project, we started taking early stage pre-orders and there are tens of thousands of people on the list now. Our job is to continue mass production to make as many Pebbles as possible for the people that are lining up to get them."