'Pebble Time' Takes Smart Watch Back to Its Kickstarter Roots

How indie watch maker is gearing up to compete with Apple Watch.

— -- Smart watch maker Pebble is upping the ante ahead of the Apple Watch release.

The indie watch maker today unveiled its new "Pebble Time" watch which stands out from previous models because it is thinner and features a color display and microphone.

"Pebble is the singularly most successful smart watch right now in terms of raw volume," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, a technology analysis firm, told ABC News on Monday before the release. "I think the timing is interesting for Pebble to get out there and highlight its capabilities."

Beginning as a Kickstarter project that raised $10 million in 2012, Pebble has become one of the top smart watches on the market, winning over users with its low price point and up to seven days of battery life.

The Pebble Time will go back to its crowdfunding roots on Kickstarter, with backers getting first dibs on the new smart watch. As of this afternoon, the campaign had more than $3.8 million worth of support from more than 18,000 backers.

"I think it captured the moment and it arrived at a point in time when smart watches were becoming a cool concept. It was a cool company, a disruptive company," Wood said of Pebble. "It ticked a lot of the boxes for people who wanted a smart phone companion device."

He doesn't expect Pebble to sink or other smart watches to be entirely eclipsed by the arrival of the Apple Watch, which starts at a $349 price point.

"The Apple Watch is good news for the entire wearables segment because it will take consumer awareness to a whole new level," Wood said. "If you don't own an iPhone but you are keen to join the smart watch party, there are alternatives."