2014 is going to be the year of the smartwatch, just as we saw small personal electronics like the iPod take off, this year will be full of smartwatches. CES 2014 is no doubt going to be the place for all the big names in technology to make their move in the wearable arena. Even big names like Intel and Apple are rumored to enter the game this year.
While it’s certainly in its infancy, the smartwatch sector is not a new one. There’s already great devices on the market, from the unsung hero that is the Sony Smartwatch 2 to the undisputed king of the connected wrist, the Pebble. No matter what comes out this year, Pebble is only just getting started and the little watch that could will stay on top throughout 2014. Why? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons below.
There’s no denying that the Pebble is cool, it’s not the best-looking watch out there, but it’s different. The watch is both simple and retro cool in the extreme thanks to its black and white “ePaper” display. With four buttons on either side of the watch, it’s easy to use, eschewing finicky touch screens in favor of traditional watch buttons. Available in a range of colors, it’s instantly recognizable on the wrists of others while out and about. It carries a certain cult chic and it can be easily customizable, unlike watches from the likes of Samsung.
The Pebble’s history, being one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history, raising over $10,000,000 from people all over the world, has helped it become a status symbol. Just like the iPod became the status symbol for the cool, the hip and those in the know, the Pebble is for the new wave of connected and smart techies out there.
When you buy a watch, no matter whether it’s a Breitling or a Rolex, you’re stuck with the same watch face for the entire time you own that particular watch. This isn’t the same with the Pebble, though, as you can change the watch face as many times as you want. You can choose from hundreds and hundreds of different designs and you can even generate your own. From the analogue to the retro cool LED designs of the 80s, the Pebble will display whatever watch face you like. This makes the Pebble an infinitely more exciting time piece than the old guard of precision mechanics.
It may seem trivial, but the ability to change how your watch looks is an important part of being able to create your own experience. Couple that with the ability to change watch straps to whatever you want and you have a compelling and personal experience for all to enjoy.
Excellent SDK Access, With an App Store Coming Soon
The Pebble features some excellent apps and applets right out of the box but, as Steve Ballmer famously said, it’s all about “Developers, Developers, Developers”. Developers are something that Pebble is very much leveraging with the Pebble. With a great Software Development Kit that allows devs to do pretty much whatever they want with the watch, there are some truly innovative apps out there. Little apps such as the automatic locking of your phone when you walk away from it, which allows for the passcode to be absent when connected to the Pebble, but there when not connected. Giving you the best of both worlds when it comes to security.
These small and useful apps will be coming to the Pebble app store, which is set to launch very soon. Such an app store would help further solidify this watch’s position as one of the best smartwatches out there.
No matter how much fun or how much utility the Pebble can offer, at the end of the day it’s still a watch. Watches are designed to be reliable. They’re always on your wrist to tell you the time and if it can’t do that, then it’s pretty much useless. The Pebble, however, is very reliable and practical — as a watch, a notifier, and great connected tool. The Pebble’s battery lasts for days on a single charge, and recharging it is as simple as connecting the magnetic USB cable and waiting around an hour or so. It’s water resistant, and while it might not be rugged enough to use around motor graders or harsh terrain, it’s certainly able to handle a normal, everyday life.
So, those are just some of the reasons the Pebble is going to remain on top of the Smartwatch game throughout 2014. There’s no doubt that more and more of these watches will be coming along in 2014, but the Pebble has the allure, the practicality and the usefulness to stand the test of time in the face of newcomers.