Pebble and other smartwatches: Info at a glance!

I never understood the mentality of folks who stopped wearing watches when they got smartphones. I like being able to subtly glance at my wrist to see the time, without having to pull out and turn on a smartphone. The Pebble takes that a step further: Now you can glance at your wrist to see who’s calling, read the text message that just came in, check notifications, and so on. Plus, cool custom watchfaces, and eventually apps. I’m seriously hooked on the functionality already.

Here’s the review I wrote of the Pebble watch on my blog. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever reviewed anything without someone paying me to do it. :) But that’s how enthusiastic I am about the product.

Still too crude and flimsily made. I’d like for them to achieve the refinement and sturdiness (and tone back some of Casio’s Japanese garishness) of the G-Shock line. The old MS SPOT watches had a bit more design to them.

Thanks Denny – these things are interesting. My biggest beef with the Up is the lack of a display (even for things like telling time), and I always felt like the Nike+ band needed an SDK to put that display to better use.

I’d like to see a thinner version… I don’t wear watches because I don’t like thick watch cases. I’d definitely wear a thinner Pebble.

The main reason I didn’t get a Pebble through the Kickstarter when it was first announced was that I demand a lot of ruggedness from my watches. Minimum is 50m waterproofing, because “splash resistant” meant I’d still ruin the watch sooner or later.

Nice review Denny! I’d seen the Pebble mentioned a few times and wondered what it was all about.

Gus, Pebble is waterproof to 50m. They added that soon after the kickstarter started taking off.

It’s hard for me to find the right way of enunciating this, but i feel like society is splitting along these creative class lines because i can’t comprehend how urgent and busy one’s life must be to make notifications on your watch a significant upgrade from just, you know, looking at your phone-on-vibrate. Or maybe instead of “is” i should say “must be” or “want to be”, since i suspect the vast, vast majority of people getting this are doing so for the novelty.

Do you have kids Enidigm?

Endigm, guessing you don’t sit in a lot of meetings. A quick glance at your watch calls a lot less attention to the fact that you’re checking an unrelated message than pulling out and unlocking your phone.

Plus, you know… pulling out a phone is slower. And clumsier. It matters.

If that’s the benefit, I’ll wait for Google Glass built into my normal glasses. Then I’ll also be able to watch youtube cat videos. :)

I could see using a smart watch while I’m jogging, and Denny makes a good point about using one in a movie theater.

I hope the Apple smart watch rumors pan out because I’d like deep integration with my iPhone. My understand with the Pebble watch is the iPhone needs to be jailbroken for certain features to work (ie, 3rd party app notifications).

I’m a watch traditionalist. I’ve got about 3 mechanicals and a couple of quartzes but I like the idea of the pebble. It wouldn’t really work for me because I don’t have the type of lifestyle where I need to get my emails immediately and for the pebble to be worthwhile I would need to use it as my only watch and I couldn’t give up my other watches. Having my emails accessible on my wrist one day a week would be pretty pointless.

Good review, Denny. I’m really impressed by the Pebble. They kept it simple, but it’s well designed and does everything it needs for now. I’m also looking forward to seeing what apps come out for it, and maybe to trying my hand at some development once a less hack-y SDK comes out.

This is my currently most used Pebble Face, though I switch to some of the word based ones on occasion: LCARS v1 (based on the computer system LCARS from the Star Trek series).

Enidigm, I understand what you are saying, but the Pebble goes one step of convenience above the phone on vibrate solution. First of all, I had gone back to wearing a traditional watch in the past year as I was tired of having to extract my phone from my pocket simply to check the time. But what’s really nice with the Pebble is the added benefit of those notifications on the wrist. Over the past few years, I’ve missed quite a few calls or messages from my wife as I don’t always feel or hear my phone vibrate/ring when I’m out and about (or when my 6 year old daughter launches into one of her long discourses on life, the universe and everything). In the past week, I have missed nothing. The moment I get a call / email / text, my wrist vibrates and I can see at a glance what the source is. The watch lets you scroll through some of the text if need be, but I find that the main value for me lies in being able to check the first couple of lines. That’s usually what I need to know whether I should do something about it or simply dismiss it.

Also, when you are in a long running meeting, or when out in the evening, it’s much nicer / more discreet to be able to check a notification with a glance at your wrist than by taking out your phone. It’s completely silent and you can’t miss it. Same thing if you are out watching a movie and wonder whether the vibrating phone call is from the baby sitter.

I don’t think a smart watch is an absolute must have. But, like smart phones, it starts out as a nice to have convenience which can quickly develop into something that’s hard to give up. And you don’t need to have such a busy lifestyle for that.


No kids. As for meetings, if I am in a meeting than I’m participating, not tapping my pencil in the back of the room waiting to go to lunch. For me the thing about texts/emails is that if I can’t do anything about it right now I don’t need to know about it right now either. I can perceive some benefit for some high intensity lifestyles, I just think this excludes most people, as an improvement. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or slightly more convenient for lots and lots, but I can’t imagine that it will become necessary in the way a mobile phone has become.

Still like I say I’m kind of out of the loop, so maybe the demand for this is higher than I can comprehend.

Agreed. If I’m in a meeting, then I’m in a meeting. If it’s really an emergency, a we-absolutely-need-you-or-we’ll-be-standing-in-the-welfare-line-tomorrow situation, then someone can come get me.

Lucky you. I wish all my meetings were beginning to end, 100% worthy of my undivided attention. Multinational companies obviously are not always so good at trimming down some timesinks. :/

That being said, I’d rank a smartwatch well below a smartphone when it comes to usefulness. It’s a convenient wearable device which makes notifications easier to check and harder to miss. Nothing more. And the Pebble does that well.

I’m sure a lot of people (NOT targeting people in this thread. This is meant as a general observation) will find them useful once Apple makes them cool. ;)


I’m not saying all of the meetings I’m in are 100% worthy of my undivided attention. A lot of them frankly suck. I’m just of the mind that looking at messages and whatnot during a meeting is rude. Same with checking messages during a movie. Or a date. Or in the checkout line.

I know I’m all old man mode here, but people need to stop looking at their damn phones all the time and look at the person they’re talking to.

I hear you on that! I’m 42 and managed very well without mobile phones until nearly 2000. I’ve only owned a smartphone for 3 years. People just spend a lot of time on their phones these days. And I’m sometimes guilty of it too.

That’s why I was saying it’s nice that the watch lets you not pull out your phone every time it vibrates or rings. Much less distracting than a phone once it’s out of your pocket. But yeah, I understand the argument about not wanting to spend more time distracted by those various notifications. Something I need to remind me teenage sons on occasion. Old man mode is good sometimes. :)


The prospect of quick glance at a movie or at a lunch/dinner, as well as a link to my smartphone jogging app are all useful. The at-a-glance messaging only because w/ kids and as the IT guy who always has to deal w/ emergencies, I often need to take a look just to quickly confirm its nothing serious. I wouldn’t pay much for this device, but I can see some utility.