Pebble has announced its first round smartwatch. The device is part of their line of Time devices released earlier this year and is called Pebble Time Round. As you would expect, it therefore shares the same operating system and screen technology as its sibling devices, the Time and Time Steel. Pebble claims Time Round is the “thinnest and lightest smart watch in the world; it has a 38.5mm face, is 7.5mm thick, and weighs in at 28 grams (I would be curious to know if their weight measurement includes the band or not because the Apple Watch Sport weighs 25 grams without a band). While Pebble has been able to reduce the size and weight of the new device, it has come at a cost. The Time Round only has a 2 day battery, compared to the Time Steel’s 10 days, and has lost a lot of its water-resistance, only able to withstand a shower versus being able to swim with the other two models. The good news regarding the battery life is that Pebble has developed a rapid charging feature which provides 24 hours of charge in 15 minutes. The device is available in black with a black bezel, stainless with a white bezel, and (surprise) rose gold with a white bezel for $250.
It is nice to see that Pebble decided not to turn to Kickstarter and instead released the new smartwatch in a more traditional manner. The company faced a lot of criticism when it returned to the crowdfunding site to release their 2nd device this Spring. The problem is, the company is still fulfilling orders placed through that campaign and there are likely a lot of customers who would have preferred the round watch but are stuck with an unfilled (or a just fulfilled) order for the older square design. The company needs to be careful because they are risking alienating their strongest advocates. Also, I am guessing the $50 credit they are offering owners of other Pebble Time devices is not going to mend a lot of fences. Next for Pebble, the company needs to solve the bezel issue on their watches; they are huge. With the round face, the bezel seems to jump out even more. The company seems to at least recognize how awkward the bezel is since they are offering two separate designs for it – you can purchase a Time Round with a terraced bezel or with 3, 6, 9, and 12 etched into it like a clock.