There’s life in Pebble still

Pebbles growing in work
Me, Jimmy and Alex – Photo credit to Jimmy Lee

Its ironic that since Fitbit bought Pebble and even Vector. There has been a bunch of interesting projects to keep Pebble going. Even Fitbit have been friendly to the idea of keep it going once they switch off their servers later this year.

At least two projects are hot on my task list.

What I find really interesting is the amount of Apple watch users who have switched to Pebble. First it started with my line manager (phil) who bought a pebble 1 a while ago, scratched it then sold it to me. He then bought a Apple Watch to go with his new apple phone; but it wasn’t long till he was frustrated with the charging and not being able to see the screen without the shake. I made clear my reasons for kickstarting the Pebble 2 and left it at that.

One day he totally surprised me one day with a pebble 2 watch in white and green. Good choice I said, even with the fear of what Fitbit would do with Pebble still looming.

I also sold my old pebble 1 watch to Andy at work with the warning of what Fitbit might or rather not do, but he was happy with the price.

Third was Jimmy, who had a old classic Casio watch he use to wear. He one day rocked up with a black pebble 2 watch and suddenly I felt the waters was turning.

Pebble 2.0

But the final surprise recently was with a Apple die-hard, Alex. Alex has apple stamped on his heart; me and Jimmy once had a conversation about the turning tide of pebble watches in work and thought who could be next? Jimmy did suggest Alex and I said nahh never, too tied to Apple. I even remember having a conversation with Alex about the Apple watch vs Pebble. I somehow forgot Alex use to own a Samsung Galaxy S4 plus a long time ago, mainly for VR.

He agreed on the advantages, and as designer to designer we critiqued the design decisions of the LCD screen and wondered if jobs would be happy with the one day battery? (to be fair me and Jimmy had a similar discussion before he turned up with one) Any way, that was a while ago and I almost fell out my chair when recently Jimmy announced Alex had ditched his Apple watch for a Pebble 2. I honestly thought he was kidding then I saw it on him.

Jimmy & Alex also have found services doing interesting custom watch faces, but I’m on the look out for more diverse apps (makers would be a plus). As I’d really like to see more things like ifttt on pebble. For example why not Monzo, Paypal balance status?

Pebble 2

Right now you can buy a Pebble on Amazon for between £40 – £90 depending on which one you get. I’d also say if you were considering a smartwatch, the pebble is still the only one I would consider even now.

Pebble, time to dump Apple?

Pebble time

Iphone users who bought a pebble have been complaining that the pebble smartwatch’s connection with the phone is getting more and more flaky.

While on the other side the connection with Android phones is getting tighter (especially with some support for Android wear). I’m Apple are also going to/has restricted access to more apis since they want exclusive access for the apple watch.

This makes me wonder how long pebble will support the iphone?

Its great they support both operating systems but when one of them wants you off their closed platform? How long do you stay and keep struggling to support it while the walls close in, crushing your development efforts and driving your customers against you?

Food for thought, pebble?

Best for purpose apps on wearables

Android Wear and Moto 360 Smartwatch

Found via Adewale on Google+ of all places..

Watered-down smartphone apps are spreading like weeds on Google’s new wearable platform.  If you want an example of everything wrong with smartwatch apps right now, just look at all the Android Wear calculators.

Since I got the pebble smart watch, I have been asked again and again why not get a Android Wear?  For me besides the questionable battery life and overkill on screen size, I also haven’t seen much which makes me want one. Yes Google Now is compelling but not enough to fork out serious money.

However the questionable app question does apply across the board. There are some very questionable apps on the pebble too. They can do with looking at the recommend developer list.

  • Does the app provide a useful service in specific situations where taking out a phone is impractical?

  • Does the watch show users something important that they’d miss if they didn’t take out their phones in time?

  • Does the watch app save significant time without sacrificing significant functionality?

These are pretty good points… And some of the examples make sense.

Delta’sAndroid appis another example of a wearable app done right. If you check into a flight on your phone, the watch automatically provides up to date gate information right on your wrist (question two) and presents your boarding pass to use at the gate (question three).

Similarly,Allthecooks’ Android Wear functionscan save time by showing recipe instructions on your wrist. Having those instructions follow you around the kitchen makes a lot more sense than having to constantly look back to your phone or tablet for reference.

The pebble has little to no input but I have already seen apps which try and input data via a bluetooth back channel from a bluetooth headset via the phone. For goodness sake, leave it alone!

The pebble is great for notifications and to be honest I wouldn’t want to see it used for much more. Getting developers to accept its limits should be easier than Android wear but you know what people are like, push and push.

As Adewale says…

The future isn’t about trying to do everything with one device – it is about finding therightdevices to do thingsyouwant to do, and to do them in thebest possible way. Forcing an app onto a form factor it is ill suited for does injustice to both you, the concept of the app, the platform, and worst of all – your users.

Couldn’t agree more…

Why I bought a pebble watch

Pebble on my arm

Bobby asked me why I didn’t get Androidware.

I bought the pebble watch from Amazon mainly because I’m a fan of eink (although I read via steve its not actually eink but rather the generic epaper) and I’m not a fan of worrying about charging items, especially things we take for granted like watches. I tried to get one from ebay a while ago but it was at that point when they started to get popular and the price jumped up. Maybe I should have backed the kickstarter at the time.

Androidware looks really good and I love the idea of Google Now on most things but to be honest, it needs to be reliable. And reliable for me includes not having to worry about charging it everyday.

I’m sure I’ll do an update of how I’m finding the pebble in months to come. But right now I’m quite happy with the notifications coming through on the phone screen. i did play with a couple of apps and I like the idea of evernote on my arm and I need to check if I can get google tasks and calendar on there too. Also wonder if theres ifttt.com support yet?