Pebble, the creators of the original smartwatch, have just announced their new product lineup for 2016. Just like last year with the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, their new products are launching on Kickstarter, with deliveries scheduled to start in September of this year.
The new products start with the Pebble 2, a modern revamp of the original smartwatch that started it all back in 2012. The Pebble 2 has new, larger version of the always-on, black and white e-paper display that the original Pebble and Pebble steel had. Pebble also refined the housing of the Pebble 2, with a smaller overall size. The new Pebble 2 also comes with a 24/7 heart rate monitor, a first for Pebble and a long sought-after feature. It also sports a microphone, along with the standard Pebble battery life of 7 days and water resistance to 30 meters.
It’s interesting that Pebble decided to revamp the original Pebble smartwatch, and keep the black and white display. It’s likely a cost-cutting move, since the Pebble 2 starts at just $99 (USD, of course) – likely the cheapest smartwatch available with this feature set. This will probably allow Pebble to reach consumers who are otherwise priced out of the wearable market, with the current generation of Pebbles running at nearly double that price, and Android Wear smartwatches doubling the price yet again.
The second product that Pebble is releasing is the Time 2. It’s actually an upgraded version of the Time Steel, featuring a nearly identical metal housing and color e-paper display. The display on the Time 2 is 53% larger, however, making the display on my Time Steel look rather toylike in comparison. The Time 2 also has a heart rate monitor, microphone, 30 meter water resistance and up to 10 days of battery life. The Time 2 starts at $169 USD.
New to Pebble’s lineup is the Pebble Core, which isn’t a smartwatch at all, but a dedicated activity tracker. It packs onboard GPS for location and distance tracking, and syncs with various fitness apps and services directly over the internet using WiFi or a 3G connection – no phone or tablet required. It can also pair directly with a Pebble watch, presumably for additional controls, or with your phone or tablet using Bluetooth. The Pebble Core also has a headphone jack, allowing a user to either stream music using services like Spotify, or to listen to tracks saved in the 4 GB of onboard memory.
Pebble is also marketing the Core for “hackers” by allowing access to an SDK and a hardware expansion port, allowing tinkerers to use the Pebble Core for anything they want, like remotely starting a car or interfacing with smart home accessories.
You can check out the Kickstarter with the link on the right.