How to market a sweet smart-watch: Just add iPhone
A starter project I found on Kickstarter aims to bring a new smart-watch to the market blew through its $100,000 funding goal in its first day! And two hours later it crossed the $200,000 mark so as a result, the Pebble E-Paper Watch should be coming to market within a few months with an estimate retail price of just over $150.Smartwatches aren’t a new concept, but what’s unique about the Pebble is that it is cross-platform, meaning it works with both Android devices and the iPhone, a little bit of advancement in adoption of the up and coming platform we see.
I had tested a handful of smart-watches in this last year: Wearable and practical devices that communicate with the smartphones they are tethered to, via a Bluetooth connection. These do more than just tell the time, of course, why would you need a smart-watch to replace your traditional watch if it didn’t? Thanks to the wireless link, smartphone data can be sent to the watch. How would this be useful in such a device? Think calendar alerts, SMS and text messages, emails and incoming Caller ID information, to name just a few. Some even run complete apps.
Think of how much time smartphones save us, what with not having to boot up a computer every so often, and now think of a device that means we don’t have to pull out our smartphones each time we get a notification for any which reason. For intense smartphone users, this has automatic appeal.
But there has always been a drawback to these devices: they have never worked with a smartphone.
According the team behind the project, their solution was to join the Made for iPhone (MFi) program and license Apple’s technology for use with the smart-watch. It is this program that manufacturers use for hardware that’s compatible with Apple’s 30-pin connector, such as docks, clock radios and cables.
The Pebble itself looks smooth and slick. It uses an e-ink type of display that’s readable both indoors and out. When paired with a phone and the relevant apps, it can easily be used as an exercise tracker with added GPS support. You can control your music playlist on your smartphone using the Pebble, and various notifications are readily available with one exception: SMS only works with Android phones – the more freedom-friendly of the two platforms- as Apple doesn’t allow external devices to tap into these functions on the phone.
You can still get in on the action by joining in the Pebble funding; a minimum pledge of $115 or more gets you a Jet Black Pebble once the smart-watches are released. If I were you (a potential lover of the idea) I wouldn’t wait a second: In the time it took me to finish this last sentence, another $1,000 was raised for Project Pebble!