Is Wearable Technology a Fad or Function?

It’s been a week now with the Pebble watch.

I’ve received the SMS and phone notifications. I’ve created custom watchfaces. And just yesterday afternoon I successfully paired it with FreeCaddie for an added golf bonus.

But what’s the verdict on the Kickstarter darling and ever-hyped smartwatch?

Remember, Pebble is NOT a Smartwatch

As I highlighted before, the Pebble is better described as an “E-Paper Watch”, not a “Smartwatch”.

Yet knowing this I still felt myself frequently wanting more.

  • Pebble truly is an extension of your phone’s screen and not a standalone device. At the end of the day it’s 10% notifications on your wrist, 5% glimpsing into ‘the future of wearable mobile technology’, and 85% just a regular watch.
  • With that in mind, there isn’t great guidance on what few apps & watchfaces are even available. Setup is a cinch, but then you’re left at the footsteps of Pebble’s forum, leaving many users lost and disengaged.
  • The black & white e-paper display leads to pretty mundane UI.
  • The software is far from complete. Simple things like absent battery meters (really, not even buried in Settings?) and disappearing caller ID bugs show there’s still work to do.

None of these are deal-breakers for me, but distinctly place the Pebble as a niche market play, not ready for mass consumer appeal.

Will this be Pebble’s eventual downfall as the big guys make good on their rumors and release competing watches in the coming months?

Pebble is a Fantastic Watch

Enough with the cons…let’s get to the good stuff.

  • Looks better than expected. While no Tag or Breitling, it’s not as nerdy as it could be and my wife even lets me wear it in public!nerd watch
  • Easy to customize out of the gate – I’d created my own custom watchface in just a few minutes. Do you like it?
  • The feeling of detachment from my phone is awesome! Whether I’m driving, unsure if I need to stop what I’m doing for a call, or just too lazy to pull my phone out of my pocket, I love getting notifications on my wrist.
  • Battery life is great so far – no charges after 7 days.
  • The E-paper display excels in any light setting, including the back-lit night version.

As a pure watch goes, I’m satisfied; not floored, not ecstatic, but content with the purchase.

Should You Buy a Pebble?

At the $150 price point it’s at least worth consideration. You could spend a lot more on a much worse watch. So if you’re already in the market for a watch, then yeah, give the Pebble a shot.

However, if you’re looking for a true smartwatch I say wait. Wait until the Pebble truly is a smartwach (which won’t be too tough considering how hard they are to come by).

Or better yet, wait and see what comes out of Cupertino or elsewhere this fall…

What about you? Are you going to get a Pebble?