The new Pebble watch has customisable clock faces
Smartwatch gets multi-million dollar Kickstart
A new watch prototype, the 'Pebble', has broken creative project fundraising website Kickstarter’s record for most financial backing.
The watch, called Pebble, has amassed almost 60,000 backers, who have pledged nearly $10 million in funding through Kickstarter.
There are eight days still remaining in the fundraising cycle. Donations eclipsed the project goal of $100,000 within hours of the initial posting, and have far surpassed the previous funding record of $3.3 million, held by a video game.
Kickstarter is a website that allows anyone to lay out creative project plans and call for investors, or ‘backers’, who will usually be offered incentives instead of a company share.
For the Pebble watch, backers were given several reward options for pledging particular amounts, including receiving just one of the watches, through to getting a custom watch face design or being sent a large distributor pack of 100 watches.
Pebble connects to both iPhone and Android smartphones via Bluetooth and alerts the wearer to incoming calls, emails, and messages. It also has a slew of apps designed specifically for the watch, it can operate as a running or bike computer and display speed, distance and pace data.
The watch can interface with the user’s music collection allowing them to play, pause or skip tracks on their smartphone using their watch controls.
While Pebble is definitely targeted at a techno-savvy customer over a jewellery consumer, the designers of the watch have made serious efforts to make the piece aesthetically pleasing.
Using an E-Paper display instead of an LCD screen, much like a Kindle, the display can be viewed from most angles, and offers analogue, digital, textual and symbolic displays.
Further, while the watchband is plain rubber, users can easily replace it with something more fashionable.
The makers of the watch have already had success with a smartwatch in the past, manufacturing and selling the similar inPulse smartwatch for Blackberry phones.
The creator of the Pebble prototype, 25-year-old Eric Migicovsky, told CNN the inspiration for the product came from the ability of smartphones to condense many personal utilities into one unit.
"About four years ago, when the iPhone enabled people to write apps for their phone, it was a big change," Migicovsky told CNN. "People started thinking about how the phone could replace other objects -- it could replace your video camera, it could replace your Web browser. Now, with the watch, we want to look at what apps you can run on the watch that would replace other things you carry around."
Apple will surely be watching the hype around Pebble with much intrigue, as rumours continue to swirl about an iWatch release. Jeweller magazine editor Coleby Nicholson reported about the possibility last year, saying the iWatch ‘could be the greatest shake-up of the international watch market since the launch of the Swatch watch in 1983’.
Jeweller magazine’s June issue will be dedicated to all things digital and social media, including a discussion of what services like
Kickstarter mean for the jewellery industry.
Watch the Pebble's promo video they used to garner backers on Kickstarter:
More readingWill Apple launch an iWatch?
Posted May 11, 2012