(Pocket-lint) - Pebble has just announced the third-generation of its Pebble smartwatch. It's called Pebble Time.
The new watch most notably brings a colour display to the watch-maker's lineup, but that's not the only reason why it is smashing records on Kickstarter and turning heads. The watch also comes with new software and a Timeline interface. It even supports voice replies and offers a special port that'll allow you to plug in smart accessories.
Those are just a few of the stand-out features in Time. Keep reading to learn what else is new, including more informatin about Pebble's latest product: Pebble Time Steel. It's a fancier version of Pebble Time, to be frank.
What is Pebble Time?
Pebble has decided to return to its original hunting ground to fund and sell the new Pebble Time. It launched a campaign on Kickstarter, where it had such success in getting the original Pebble off the ground, and you can visit project page to purchase Time for $159 (around £103) with worldwide shipping.
Time garnered $1 million in funding on Kickstarter in under 30 minutes, trouncing the record in doing so. The previous record was held by The Veronica Mars Movie Project, which raised $1 million (£647,340) in 260 minutes. Time had actually made its $500,000 goal in just 17 minutes, and at the time of writing, it's reached $5.3 million.
Pebble said Time should release by May. The lens is crafted from scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, while the bezel is made of stainless steel. Although Time can be used with any standard 22mm band, Pebble said it is making Time available to purchase with the following options:
- Black watch case and silicone band with black PVD stainless steel bezel
- White watch case and silicone band with silver PVD stainless steel bezel
- Red watch case and silicone band with black PVD stainless steel bezel
All new Pebble watch bands include a quick-release pin, letting you quickly swap bands. If you order now on Kickstarter, you can get a Time via the early-bird special for $159 (£103). If the early-bird special has expired, you can cough up $179 (£115) to get a Time from a limited run of 20,000 units.
What's new with Pebble Time?
Colour e-paper display
Time has a colour e-paper display - unlike past Pebbles, which only sported basic e-ink screens. Not only does the new display offer colour but also a slightly wider screen that's still readable in sunshine and easy on battery life.
Thin ergonomic design
Time is 20 per cent thinner than the original Pebble at just 9.5mm. The team behind Pebble also described the design as "ergonomic" and "curved", emphasising that Time comfortably fits on wrists and easily slides under dress shirts.
Time's new microphone lets you create voice notes or send voice replies to incoming notifications from most major Android apps (including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and more). Currently, for iOS devices, only Gmail notifications are supported, but Pebble said it is working to enable voice replies in more apps.
Pebble teased earlier this year that it developed a new smartwatch software, and now we know that the software's interface is called Timeline. It's based on your past, present, and future activity. Timeline connects to calendars, alarms, and apps - and then it organises relevant information from those apps into a scrollable timeline with quick actions.
Scroll back in time, for instance, to see missed emails, or you can scroll forward in time to see if you have any meetings scheduled for later in the day. Alongside Timeline, Pebble has introduced a new app menu and system. The app menu features new app faces and glanceable content, while the new system dynamically loads and caches apps as needed.
Timeline will work with all 6,500+ apps and watchfaces, but Pebble is asking developers to update their apps for the colour screen. Timeline will also work on Pebble and Pebble Steel, though a rollout date hasn't been set yet.
What else does Pebble Time feature?
Pebble has highlighted the following features in Time:
- An improved backlight
- New Cortex M4 processor
- 6-axis gyroscope
- Smart accessory port (for plugging in third-party sensors and smart straps)
- Up to 7 day battery life
- Water resistant and durable
- Tactile buttons for easy "eyes-free" clicking
- Silent vibrating alarms and discreet notifications
- Language and international character support (with Chinese coming soon)
- Fitness tracking (via third-party apps) such as step tracking with Misfit and Jawbone
- Works with iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above and all Android 4.0+ phones
Time eschewed heart rate monitoring and other popular health-tracking features found in Android Wear and the Apple Watch and instead included a motion detector for counting steps. Pebble said it plans to add more hardware integration in the near future, such as straps that'll plug into a special port and add functionality like heart-rate monitoring.
Unlike other recently-announced smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time doesn't feature a touchscreen but rather a colour e-paper display and three minimal buttons next to the face. It also includes a microphone for dictation. You can use either the buttons or the microphone to get things done with Time.
What is Pebble Time Steel?
It was just last week that Pebble unveiled Pebble Time, which has since become the most successful Kickstarter campaign of all time, but the company isn't done with new product announcements. While at Mobile World Congress, Pebble announced the new Pebble Time Steel.
Time vs Time Steel
Time Steel is all metal, or rather stainless steel, and is a bit thicker and heavier than the mostly-plastic Time. Time Steel is 1mm thicker than the 9.5mm-thick Time and similarly features a lens crafted from scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass.
Other than the design and new stainless-steel finishes, Time and Time Steel are the same smartwatch. They feature the same display, for instance, as well as specifications and Timeline software.
Although Time Steel can be used with any standard 22mm band, Pebble said it is making Time Steel available to purchase with the following stainless-steel finishes and bands:
- Silver with a stone leather band
- Gunmetal black with a black leather band
- Gold with red leather band
All Time Steels come with both a leather and matching metal band.
Pebble has already added Time Steel to the Time campaign, rather than launching a new one. Time Steel can be pre-ordered right now for $250 (the retail price will be $299) through Kickstarter, and it is expected to start shipping in July.