Pebble has returned to its roots to launch the next version of the company’s smartwatch via Kickstarter. While it might seem like a bit of a cheat for a successful company to turn to Kickstarter to launch a product that they know will be a hit, that didn’t seem to put off interested buyers. In fact, Pebble Time broke its fundraising goal of $500K in 17 minutes and earned over $5M within 5 hours. The recently completed Kickstarter raised a total of $20.34M, shattering the previous Kickstarter record of $13.3M for The Coolest Cooler.
The Pebble Time utilizes a low resolution color e-ink screen (144 x 168) that is capable of displaying 64 colors. This screen affords the device an impressive 7 day battery life. It is important to note though that it is not a touch screen; you are restricted to the four buttons along the side and a microphone (that has limited use). Pebble Time will also bring the introduction of a new interface concept from Pebble.
Called Pebble Timeline, your notifications are displayed in a linear fashion for the day with buttons along the side allowing your to look back or look ahead. Pebble watches are primarily notification receivers; do not expect to be able to interact with the data it presents to you. If you are looking for a waterproof smartwatch with a color screen primarily to receive notifications, Pebble Time looks to be an impressive device. When released this Spring, the plastic version will retail for $199 and the metal version will be $299.
Since Pebble Time’s Kickstarter is now complete it is interesting to have a quick look at the $20.34M raised through over 78K backers. This breaks down to just shy of 96K watches sold, an 11.6% increase in device sales from the 85.5K the original Pebble sold during its Kickstarter. These might seem like great numbers but remember, Android Wear collectively sold 720,000 during 2014 and that was considered very disappointing. With these sales numbers in mind, it will be quite interesting to see how the Apple Watch fairs when it launches on April 24th.