Pebble’s next generation smartwatch, Pebble Time, is ready to start shipping, according to the company. The original backers of the device on Kickstarter will start receiving their watches starting May 27th according to the California-based company. The device is the third generation follow-up to the second generation Pebble Steel and the original Pebble smartwatch, which was released in 2013 by Pebble Technology Corporation after having been funded via a wildly successful campaign on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. The news comes amidst reports of the company being in some amount of financial distress with stagnating sales and employee discontent and has reportedly turned to Silicon Valley venture capital funds and banks for loans and credit. Those reports however have still not received any official confirmation from the company.
As for the smartwatch, it is developed in-house by Pebble Devices and is said to be manufactured by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxlink and comes with a retail tag of $199 – the same as the last generation Pebble Steel. The original backers of the Kickstarter project however, only had to pay $179 to get their hands on the device. The watch has reportedly been in production since the start of this month, and by the end of the month, enough will have been produced to be shipped to all the original investors on Kickstarter, all of whom can expect to be provided with a tracking number for their shipment by the middle of June, according to the company.
The Pebble Time reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $500,000 in just 17 minutes of going live, according to the project’s Kickstarter page, and took a Kickstarter record of just 49 minutes to reach $1 million. Overall, the project raised $10.3 million in 48 hours, and by March 27, 2015, the day the campaign ended, Pebble Time received pledges of $20,338,986 from 78,471 backers. The device features a color e-ink display, and Pebble claims a very respectable seven-day battery life, which is significant, considering one of the main complaints regarding smartwatches is the abysmal battery life, which is a reality for most current generation devices. The ‘Pebble Time Watch’ app, which allows the watch to be controlled through a smartphone, is also available for download from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The original cap of eight apps has been done away with by Pebble, and apps that won’t fit on the watch because of storage limitations on the timepiece, can be loaded from the smartphone through the app.