Pebble Time smartwatch with full colour display nearly breaks Kickstarter

Pebble is launching a new, thinner smartwatch with a curved design, colour e-paper display and a microphone. And it’s selling so fast you need a smartwatch to keep up.

Pebble got its start on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform, and it returned to its roots to launch its new smartwatch, the Pebble Time. The company surpassed its goal of $500,000 in less than 20 minutes with no sign of slowing down. As we go to press, pledges are well over $1.5 million and there and some users are having difficulty making their purchase – a status message warned Kickstarter is running slowly.

“We’re investigating slow performance and errors on some pages,” said Kickstarter. “We’re adding capacity to handle elevated traffic.”

The Pebble Time is Pebble’s third smartwatch, following the Pebble and the Pebble Steel. It’s compatible with Apple iOS8 on the iPhone 4S or better, and with all Android 4.0 and above handsets. Sorry, Windows and BlackBerry users are out of luck.

Any standard watch band can be used with the Pebble Time.
Any standard watch band can be used with the Pebble Time.

According to Pebble, the new smartwatch is 20 per cent thinner than its original model. It now features Gorilla Glass and a stainless steel bezel for improved durability, and features a quick release band so you can swap in a different coloured band and a smart accessory port for add-ons like compatible sensors.

The colour e-paper display will be a welcome visual improvement for users, and a new microphone will allow users to respond to notifications or take short voice notes. Pebble promises up to a week of battery life, water resistance, and a choice of black, white or red.

A new timeline view featured dedicated buttons for a Past, Present and Future view. Past shows things lime messages, sports scores and step counts. Future shows things like the weather and upcoming meetings. Pebble Time is compatible with all previous third-party apps, and the company promises new APIs and tools for the developer community.

Pebble gives a glimpse into your future.
Pebble gives a glimpse into your future.

“With Pebble Time, we’re launching completely new hardware and reimagined software while keeping all the things people love about Pebble,” said Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, in a statement.

Pebble is offering six reward tiers on Kickstarter, with the most popular the entry level reward, an early bird offer of one Pebble Time in your choice of colour for US$159 – the regular price will be $199.

The first Pebble smartwatch received over US$10 million in Kickstarter pledges.

Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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