The Pebble Time Round is what you’d get if a Pebble shacked up with a Swatch

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Pebble Debuts Its First Round Smartwatch With The Pebble Time Round.

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.From Kickstarter success to the most recent launch of the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky and his team of roughly 130 have not been resting on their laurels.

It’s the company’s first smartwatch with a circular display, and it’s also the thinnest and lightest smartwatch on the market, said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s CEO. Pebble Time Round will come in a few different styles: a leather strap in a variety of color for $249, or with a metal band in gold or black for $299. 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. If you’re already familiar with Pebble and its timeline interface, you’ll feel right at home here — it’s very much a Pebble, just a whole lot slimmer and rounder than those that have come before it. 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.

Pebble is thus far known for its solid battery life; in a world where most smartwatches last a day or so at best, Pebble’s lightweight OS and e-ink display traditionally let it crank on for closer to a week. In regard to Apple Watch, he was clearly aware of Apple’s potential threat, but was upbeat that the Apple Watch and Pebble smartwatches are catering to different kinds of users. “There is no beating around the bush, Apple has had a major impact on the smartwatch market,” Migicovsky told me. “I think it’s both good and bad for us, but good because there’s an immense amount of attention on this space and our sales have actually seen an uptick since the Apple Watch launched.” With sales up, Migicovsky believes now is the right moment for more design variety. 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. A quick charge feature lets you add 24 hours of juice with just 15 minutes on the charger — but you won’t be taking this one for week long camping trips.

Notice the width of each band: while earlier Pebble watches had 22mm straps, the more svelte Round will have 20mm straps for a more masculine look, and 14mm ones for the feminine. The 14 mm is the narrowest smartwatch band available out there. “The 14 mm is what we believe is the first smartwatch that will actually look and feel appropriate on women’s wrists,” Migicovsky excitedly told me.

All versions have steel cases, and there are multiple color choices: black and silver for 20 millimeter, and black, silver, and rose gold for 14 millimeter. 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. It’s got the same processor and memory, the same four button layout, the same microphone, the same charging cable, and the same stainless steel construction—though it is only mildly water resistant now. “We don’t recommend that you shower with them,” says Eric. 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. There’ll be an SDK (of course) to help developers quickly migrate their apps and watchfaces to the round screen, and Eric suggests that watchfaces in particular should make the transition well.

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. The metal bands look pretty great: And the company’s bringing Pebble OS 3.0 to the original Pebble and Pebble Steel watches over the next couple of months.

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