Pebble Smartwatch Update, Mediocre Faces SDK

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Pebble Technology, makers of the Pebble Smartwatch, just announced the impending release of a new developer SDK. Unfortunately, in addition to the sad state of firmware and software already available, it appears that the upcoming SDK is also only an alpha release. Still, as Pebble is undoubtedly the most popular smartwatch currently available, this release should energize the bustling early-adopter crowd.

The new SDK will be released to developers the second week of April and will focus exclusively on the ability to create new watch faces. Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble Technology, calls this a “proof of concept” SDK that is “very much a work in progress.” This fact is readily apparent by the handful of mediocre and uninspired watch faces that he demonstrates as the the future of the Pebble smartwatch. To say the least, not much to get excited about.

As discussed in our REVIEW of the Pebble Watch, there has been a great deal of user disappointment with regard to the lack of software and corresponding functionality of the smartwatch in its current form. Migicovsky attributes this to the company’s rush to get a product into the hands of it’s Kickstarter backers. While disheartening for some, early adoopters likely would be happier to have a buggy smartwatch in hand that can be updated and honed as opposed to endlessly waiting for a perfected product to emerge. Similar to the recent Google Glass offering to ship a beta product to testers for $1,500, Pebble Watch backers are similarly beta testing the product in an unfinished state. And, whereas the smartwatch itself is in beta state right now, the software and SDK are only in alpha state, but are expected to be in beta within the next few months.

Pebble E-Paper Smartwatches

Migicovsky also stated that firmware version 1.9 will be released early next week. The new firmware is intended to significantly improve they way users interact with the Pebble smartwatch by simplifying the main launcher menu. It is also said to alter the way that watch faces and text are rendered on the watch, improving readability and the user experience.

Smartwatch technology is in its infancy, with complaints of bugginess and uninspired functionality plaguing all current manufacturers. However, the Pebble Watch just feels so unfinished and mediocre that it is hard not to be disappointed. Hopefully, Pebble’s plan of opening up the watch to developers will provide the fledgling company with the inspiration and talent that so far has been lacking from its smartwatch offering.

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Jon is the Editor-In-Chief at Wear Guide and writes about wearable technology On Your Arm.  Jon has a M.S. in Computer Science, won several intercollegiate events as a member of the UCLA Cycling Team, and is currently active on the USA Triathlon circuit which provides him the opportunity to field-test wearables under grueling conditions. Jon also writes for our sister publication Send tips and story ideas to Jon at: [email protected]