Pebble steps out with a sleeker, thinner smartwatch

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Pebble Goes Full Circle With New Time Round Smartwatch.

The wearable device maker on Wednesday introduced its latest creation — the Pebble Time Round, which it said is the “thinnest and lightest smartwatch in the world,” at 7.5mm thick and weighing 28 grams. “The beautiful, always-on, e-paper display discreetly camouflages the smarts within,” Pebble wrote in a blog post. “Summon timeline to keep tabs on your day. On those occasions when someone says a particular smartwatch isn’t on the chunky side, he or she generally means that it’s not as thick as . . . a thick smartwatch. Leave the phone in your bag and bring notifications, messages, incoming calls, and music controls to your wrist.” The new watch comes in a variety of finishes, including black, silver, and rose gold. Its design is noticeably different, though, featuring a round face and a body that is 7.5 millimeters thin, weighing less than competitors such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear. “Our team has created the first smartwatch that looks like a beautiful, classic wristwatch,” Pebble Chief Executive Eric Migicovsky said in a video announcing the watch. “It’s focused; it’s not a miniature smartphone on your wrist. Since then, Samsung has released a number of smartwatches that have mostly been flops, Google unleashed Android Wear with a handful of partners making sleek smartwatches, and Apple has launched its Apple Watch.

And it uses the same setup as all previous Pebble watches, with three buttons for navigating around the software located on the right side of the watch. The 1.25-inch diameter display is still color e-paper—and there is still no touchscreen. “We’ve been making smartwatches for a long time and there’s always been a small number of people who’ve told us that our watches were a bit too big for their wrists,” Mr.

It feels less like a gizmo, and more like a fashion wristwatch that happens to incorporate a screen for offer apps, notifications, and customizable faces. It claims up to two days of life per charge for the Round—brief by Pebble standards, but still longer than many other models on the market. (The Round incorporates new fast-charge technology, which can give you a day of life from 15 minutes of charging.) The screen is small, too: a little less than an inch in diameter, surrounded by a sizeable ring. It’s also water-resistant and has a built-in microphone for voice replies. “One of the things I realized when we were coming up with the original Pebble, Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel, is that there are different wrists out there,” Migicovsky said. “Different shapes and different sizes. The watch isn’t a high-end piece of jewelry in any of its incarnations, but the craftsmanship appears to be quite good—and between the case and strap options, it offers far more aesthetic variety than earlier Pebbles and most competitors.

For them to be Round-friendly, developers will have to redesign faces for the circular screen and recompile most apps—a job that the company says doesn’t involve much effort. Pebble smartwatches are beloved, not just for the thousands of watch faces that can be installed on it from the Pebble Store, but also for their phenomenal battery life. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky told me that the concept for this watch emerged from the company’s overarching desire to stick to its strengths rather than get dragged into competing more directly with the pricier, fancier Apple Watch. “We realized it wasn’t suited for all wrist types,” he says, speaking of the design of previous rectangular Pebbles. “It wouldn’t fit naturally on smaller wrists. Migicovsky said it’s twice that of the competition, which is still a win on a spec comparison chart. “This is like a real two-days — 48 hours, not like 18 hours.” Longer battery life is always more desirable, but Migicovsky recognizes the fact that we’re all accustomed to charging our devices on a nightly basis. He reasoned that it’s unlikely that a person wouldn’t have a USB cable nearby for charging, and so the engineers were more willing to take a battery hit for the sake of a more stylish and ergonomic design.

Will developers need to redesign their apps specifically for the round display? “With Timeline, we actually, started breaking up the content of the app from the UI, from the layout,” Migicovsky explained. “So you have something like the weather report, instead of the developer hard-coding in exactly how and where the screen will show information, we’ve made it kind of a separation between the data and the display.

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