Why I Supported Pebble, The Hackable Watch Which Raised Almost $1 Million On Kickstarter On Day One

By April 13, 2012

Who’d’ve thought that in 2012, when we’re all glued to our iPhones and Droids, our iPads and Android tablets, our notebook and desktop computers, people would be so excited about an ancient piece of hardware which hasn’t had so much geek-appeal since the Reagan-era Casio Databank?

Rejoice, tech-savvy lovers of all things chronometric: watches are cool again. Pebble Technology launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to raise $100k in order to put its eponymous wristwatch into production. Representatives from the company posted an update to the project page Wednesday saying they “were absolutely blown away” by all the support. And they were excited about raising $100k in under two hours. Well, as of about 11:50 yesterday morning, the project has raised a whopping $975,000 in about 24 hours. Needless to say, there’s a lot of demand for this wristwatch.

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But it isn’t just a wristwatch. Pebble features a backlit e-paper display, a gorgeous aluminum case design, which comes in several colors, Bluetooth integration with your iPhone or Android device, and a flexible SDK (or “software development kit”) which will allow users to develop some useful apps for their watches.

But to put in my two cents, the killer use-case for these watches is the ability to push notifications right to your wrist. This could potentially lead to more surreptitious checking of emails, Facebook Messages, and Twitter, which might be a boon for those sitting in boring lectures or meetings who can’t take out their phones. But apart from offering a covert way to escape meetings and the like, the Pebble offers something which is… hard to describe.

Think about it this way. How goofy do people often look while trying to find their phones? Shoving your hand into your pocket, or excavating your bag whenever your phone chirps, rings, or vibrates doesn’t make much sense. It is not the seamless user experience the creative types at Apple, Nokia, Samsung and others imagine when they design new products.

Again, it’s hard to explain. But I think you know what I’m talking about here. It just seems more natural to check notifications, incoming caller ID, and other things from my wrist. That you can use apps on the Pebble to access your phone’s GPS to calculate running or cycling speed, or even strategize your march up the fairway – because, yes, there’s a golf range-finder app – is, to me, beside the point. It’s cool that I can control my music from my watch. It’s the ability to check incoming calls, messages, weather reports, and other things as casually as people have checked the time since the wristwatch’s invention that really intrigues me. And that’s why I threw in my hundred bucks.

And in other news, the Pebble also tells time and is a perfectly serviceable alarm clock.