The most successful Kickstarter campaign ever, Pebble Time, is nearing its close scheduled for March 27th. The pre-emptive strike against the forthcoming Apple Watch has not only proven the intense interest in wearable Pebble smartwatch tech, but in many respects has validated predictions of strong demand for the Apple Watch next month.
This David vs. Goliath duel still has a long way to go, but Eric Migicovsky’s vision of what a smartwatch should be, and what it should do, continues to find backers and compliments from the press. Contrast this to multibillion dollar company Samsung and its feeble entry into the space …and… well that is saying something.
Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, the higher end version of the next iteration of the Pebble Watch, has “sold” over 75,000 watches which are scheduled to begin to ship this coming May. While Pebble really did not have any need to use the Kickstarter platform to raise capital in a rewards based campaign, the company decided to go back to its roots using the site to create a virtual line and generate buzz about their respectable wearable tech.
Pebble has differentiated its product versus Apple’s device by promising week long battery life (Apple watch @ 18 hours?), e-Paper vs OLED, non-touch vs Apple’s touch screen, water proof vs. not so much for the Apple, and of course the price. You can reserve a Pebble Time Steel for $249 (ships August). The Apple Watch steel version will set you back a minimum of $549.
Probably the most interesting spin that Pebble has placed on their design is the forthcoming integration of smartstrap technology. Using the band to house additional battery power or other hardware is pretty cool and Pebble is backing development by outside engineers with a $1 million development fund to assist budding creators. Pebble promises to monitor Kickstarter and “other” platforms to fund promising projects. No commitment on how much per campaign.
There is certainly plenty of space in the emerging market for both companies to co-exist. In the near future everyone will sport wearable tech. I promise. As it stands today there is Pebble and Apple. Yes Google has once again promised to crash the party having moved on from its Google Glass project by partnering with Tag Heur and Intel to design an Android powered watch. Hopefully that will perform better than Google Glass. We will wait and see.
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