Gadgets: Pebble Smartwatch

From the June 2013 issue of Columbus CEO
  • Photo by Tim Johnson

Launched in 2009, this website is a creative funding source for business startups. Some 3.9 million people have pledged more than $576 million toward funding 39,000-plus products or projects.

About a year ago, Pebble was a company in search of backers and $100,000 to begin production of a watch that communicated with an iPhone or Android smartphone. In the first 28 hours, enough people jumped on the Pebble bandwagon that the company exceeded its goal and raised $1 million. By the time funding concluded, 68,929 backers pledged $10,266,845.

Out of the box, the watch is comfortably light with a high-resolution e-paper face that can assume more than a dozen designs to display the time. Using Bluetooth, the watch offers caller ID for smartphones and displays text messages. It will even act as a remote to play music from a phone. A shake of the wrist activates a backlight when needed. The watch is made of scratch-resistant plastic and comes in such colors as black, white, red, orange or gray.

Since the watch has a built-in accelerometer and can run special apps, its potential includes acting like a bike computer using the GPS on a phone or monitoring a runner’s pace and distance while managing the music he or she runs to. It could also be a golf rangefinder. It can monitor e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts and provide weather or calendar alerts, just to mention a few offerings.

The watch is water-resistant enough to be worn while swimming. Pebble says the rechargeable battery lasts seven days.

Phil Pikelny is vice president of Dispatch Digital and chief marketing officer of The Dispatch Printing Company.