Pebble is a smart watch designed to work as an accessory to work with your smart phone. Pebble is one of the first smart watches out there came to reality as a Kickstarter project. Despite from tough competetion from Android Gear, Samsung watches and now the announced Apple watch Pebble developers are not giving up. They are adding more and more features in almost every update they release.
Pebble has recently added a couple of new features; 1. Activity: It uses the motion censor inside your pebble to count steps you have taken throughout the day. It uses similar kind of algorithm to measure the step count as other leading activity trackers. 2. Quick Launch: This feature could be huge for pebble users, especially for the ones who don’t use Glance (only Android). Feature gives native capability to create long hold shortcuts to Top and Bottom buttons of Pebble. I am using it currently for Starbucks and Evernote Apps.
Check release notes below for more details about this update by developers.
Pebble Firmware 2.6 Release Notes
NEW: Activity. Activity tracking apps (e.g. Jawbone, Misfit, Swim.com) for Pebble now work seamlessly in the background. View installed Activity apps and toggle preferences in the Pebble Settings menu. An Activity icon is visible within Pebble menus when a compatible app is installed and running.
NEW: Quick Launch. Set shortcuts from a watchface to your favorite Pebble apps with a long press of the Up or Down buttons. Enable Quick Launch and set app shortcuts in the Pebble Settings menu. Battery icon is now persistent within Pebble menus.
Select button once again dismisses notifications when paired with an Android device or iOS device on iOS 7 or lower. iOS 8 users get notificaion dismissal for both Pebble and the paired device when pressing Select. Bug fixes and improvements.
Pebble app for iOS received an update yesterday which now allows support for third-party app notifications on your Pebble smartwatch. Pebble smartwatch also received a simultaneous update to support new notification features introduced on the iOS app.
An additional functionality to support notifications from other 3rd party apps including Facebook, Twitter, Fantastical, Whatsapp, etc. was added. A simple feature that all Pebble iOS users were eagerly waiting for since the release of iOS7 is finally live.
How can I get it?
After updating Pebble iOS app, app requests users to update watch firmware to v1.13 which supports this new notifications functionality on Pebble watch. Pebble watch can be purchased for $150 at retailers like Best Buy and also online at www.getpebble.com
Pebble announced something which was already available for other smart watches (e.g. Metawatch) since the release of iOS 7. Pebble development is too slow and the company doesn’t seem to care about it. I bought Pebble right after I upgraded to iOS7 last month. SInce then, there were multiple times that I thought of switching to Metawatch or even Galaxy Gear (for Galaxy Gear I also considered switching back to my Galaxy S4) just because these delays in app development. Nevertheless, I still find Pebble better in terms of battery and it’s simplicity than other watches and prefer iPhone over S4 and Note 3.
After updating to firmware v1.13 I am getting reliable connection to phone for my notifications except that, now all these notifications are delayed for about 5-6 seconds. Probably I am now used to instant notifications directly from iOS notification center. Still I’m glad that fingerdance has come to an end for all iOS Pebblers.
Pebble is an accessory to your smart phone. Think of it like a ‘notification center on the go’.
Do I need a smart watch?
If you use your phone for messaging and checking your work emails you do probably need a smart watch to make your life easy. Not all your notifications are urgent or important, a smart watch can help you avoid taking your phone out of your pocket for non urgent or unimportant notifications. With twist of your wrist you can just check what the message is and then decide if you want to respond to it or just dismiss it right off your smart watch. This saves a lot of time and efforts.
That’s not ONLY what it does!
Usually smart watches let you control your phone up to some extent without violating rules and regulations of the OS on your phone. In Pebble’s case, it lets you control certain things on your iPhone. However, you can take total control of your Android device or a jailbroken iOS device because they are way much lenient on restrictions. You can control music on your phone with native Pebble app on the watch. With custom apps you can control several things on your phone such as, view calendar and appointments, get weather information, set alarms, get GPS location (with some apps maps too), get notifications from all the apps (iOS7, little buggy until next app update), http requests, change watch faces and look, Twitter and Facebook feeds, volume control, use pebble as camera remote, phone battery status, access to your iPod library including playlists etc. Also, there are many other things you can do which are only available on Android or jailbroken iPhones like, sending predefined text messages to predefined contacts, initiating calls to predefined contacts, invoke settings on phone like turning on/off WiFi with your Pebble.
Following are some apps available on AppStore which will help you improve your performance with Pebble.
Pebble: Official Pebble app, lets you configure email push for Gmail and other IMAP email providers. Also enables caller ID function on your watch. Equired for firmware updates and installing watch faces.
StartWatch+: Allows use of custom watchapps and faces that shows you weather and appointment information at a glance along with custom music player controls. Has app pages for stock, exchange rates, GPS location, camera remote, calendars, reminders, detailed weather, FindMyPhone and HTTP requests.
SmartWatchPro: Similar to SmartWatch+ but gives you additional functionality of viewing Twitter feeds; has no custom watchfaces or apps other than this app provides.
Pebble Faces: This app allows Pebble users to download watch faces, apps and games directly on your phone and onto your Pebble via official Pebble app.
httpebble: App that handles all the HTTP requests in a WiFi network. SmartWatch+ and SmartWatchPro also support this feature but httpebble is required for specially made weather watch faces.
pebbleremote: aka Peapod, gives you total control over iPod library including all the custom and smart playlists, artists, albums and volume/play control.
PebbGPS: Shows GPS location spotted by your phone onto your Pebble. This app allows users to change zoom level on the watch and also shows approximate address of current location.
There are a few other apps which you can find in AppStore just by searching ‘pebble watch’.
Why to buy Pebble over other watches?
My simple answer would be longer battery and simple operation. There are many smart watches in the market including the very recent Samsung Galaxy Gear. All other watches are great with what they do except for they are packed with so many unnecessary features which make them a separate device than accessory to your cell phone. For me I needed only to see my notifications without taking my phone out so that, I can decide which one to respond.
Advantages of buying other smart watches over Pebble:
Large color displays
More actions to respond with
Advantages of buying Pebble over other smart watches:
E-Paper display which allows you to see the screen in bright sunlight
Always ON display allows you to check time or notifications without touching the watch when it’s lying on your desk
SDK which enables 3rd party apps to integrate with Pebble
Longer battery life
Compatibility with iPhones and Androids gives you flexibility of changing your device if you wish to.
Revolutionary idea as it is, Pebble meets it’s expectations with a few more reasons of using it alongside Android or jailbroken iOS than iOS. But this will change as more and more developers will build their apps to take full advantage of new pebble SDK, iOS7 or Android KitKat.