Pebble 2 close to hitting $10 million mark on Kickstarter
Smartwatch start-up Pebble have smashed their Kickstarter target of $1 million, raising nearly 10 times the amount in a week and a half. Backers keen to get their hands on four new Pebble models have so far pledged $9,750,221, with the Kickstarter due to end on June 30. Pebble are offering the following new products through the Kickstarter: Pebble 2, Time 2, Pebble Core for Runners and Pebble Core for Hackers. The first two products are heart rate-enabled smartwatches and the latter two are variations on the Core 3G ultra-wearable design.
On May 24 the Pebble 2 project raised more than $1 million in an hour. The current pledge total makes the Pebble 2 the fourth highest funded project in Kickstarter history. Two of the three highest projects were also completed by Pebble. The original Pebble Classic watch raised $10.3 million in 2012, dwarfing the $100,000 target, while the Pebble Time raised $20,338,986 in 2015 from a target of $500,000.
Pebble plays with the big boys
Pebble has continued to appeal to consumers despite lacking the backing of a major player like Apple or Google. The company’s range is priced from $99.99 for the Pebble Classic to $249.99 for the Pebble Time Steel, making it a wallet-friendly option compared to more expensive competitors. The line’s always-on e-paper display, which is water resistant and offers a 7-10 day battery life, is also a feature that many consumers value.
IDC reports that the Pebble OS market share in 2015 was 8.6%, and predicted it would fall to 2.6% in 2019. In 2012/3 the company was playing in a much smaller market, but now there’s a lot more competition from the bigger players. The rumour mill suggests the Apple Watch 2 could be arriving in June 2016 or at some later point in the year, which will put even more pressure on Pebble.
Pebble 2 Kickstarter packages rapidly selling out
Pebble offering 18 packages on their Kickstarter, seven of which have sold out already. Many of the other packages are close to selling out. They included discounts hovering around the $30 mark for many of the pre-order bundles. However if you missed out, don’t despair. The company frequently offer discounts, sometimes as much as 28 per cent, via their mailing list. If the Apple Watch 2 does arrive later in the year, it’s likely to prompt a promotional discount from Pebble.
Pebble 2 and Time 2 features
The company is presenting the Pebble 2 and Time 2 models as fitness trackers and smartwatches in one. The sporty Pebble 2 starts at $99 while the flagship stainless steel design of the Time 2 starts at $169. Both watches present notifications, keep track of your schedule and allow tasks to be completed with the click of a button.
The watches feature built-in activity tracking, an updated suite of health tools and optical heart rate monitoring. Both watches are water resistant to 30 metres have e-paper displays that are readable in and outdoors. Like all Pebble products, the watches are compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. The Pebble 2 offers 7-day battery life, while the Time 2 stretches out to 10 days.
The focus on health is a new direction for the company, the first indication of which was the launch of the Health app. The move into health will bring Pebble into direct competition with Fitbit, who have a more established position in the fitness wearables market.
Pebble offer compact Core models
Both Pebble Core models start at $69. They are billed as ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact and ultra-affordable. The Core is designed to free you from armbands, pouches and other hassles associated with exercising with a smartphone, while keeping you connected. The unit pairs with your Pebble watch and can stream music from Spotify and sync GPS data with Runkeeper, Strava and Under Armour Record.
The Pebble Core for Hackers is essentially a tiny hackable Android device that can fit on a keychain and become your magic button for anything. It allows you to call an Uber with a click, track a pet, pilot a drone or stream data from your car’s ODB port, among other possibilities.