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Developers Rolling Out Pebble Smartwatch Apps

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the check-it-out dept.

Technology 64

itwbennett writes "When it first launched, the Pebble smartwatch was a nifty, if pricey, way to get notifications from your phone without having to go to the effort of pulling your phone out of your pocket. As previously posted on Slashdot, the real promise of the watch wouldn't be realized until developers got their hands on the SDK. Now, a few months after launch the apps are starting to roll in and Pebble wearer Kevin Purdy has rounded up some of the best apps and projects — and also where to find them."

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64 comments

Having seen the picture (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#44068101)

... I want one!

I don't (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 10 months ago | (#44068501)

Recharge a watch every day? No thanks.

Try to use apps on that tiny little screen? No thanks.

Have to connect it to a smartphone to do anything useful? Wtf??

I'm sorry, how much does it cost?? $150??

If you want a gimmick watch Casio will do you a nice one for about $30 but I have to warn you that the days of digital watches being cool ended in about 1980 so you won't be getting any Hipsters putting down their skinny lattes in shock and envy by buying a Pebble either.

Re:I don't (4, Informative)

DJProtoss (589443) | about 10 months ago | (#44068689)

Battery life is (for me) ~10days
Mostly, yeah most apps are silly on that screen*. However for what it is designed to do (which is basically act as a second display for notifications from your phone) it is fine.
$150 for a device that means I don't miss calls / txts when out because I didn't hear it go off / was listening to music at the time? Easily worth it. If you don't need that functionality? Then no; but then again that is true of any device.
Oh, and actually yeah, the hipsters do rather like the pebble, from the ones I've met. Heck, they (and a few geeks) are the only ones who know what it is when they see it.
*The one app I have installed is the google authenticator which is ideal for the form factor. I've not found / thought of another one.

Re:I don't (3, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 months ago | (#44069625)

"$150 for a device that means I don't miss calls / txts when out because I didn't hear it go off / was listening to music at the time?"

Except that it doesn't do this unless you use it in a way that enables those notifications...which you could simply do with the phone itself. The phone has a means of notifying silently already. You could also ignore the notifications from the watch thereby justifying the need for the next gadget that costs another $150.

Re:I don't (1)

ccguy (1116865) | about 10 months ago | (#44070035)

notifications...which you could simply do with the phone itself. The phone has a means of notifying silently already.

Yes, and usually those notifications are missed. Obviously you don't have a girlfriend or wife with her phone inside a pouch instead a bag which is a few meters away.

Re:I don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105227)

In my experience a vibration on the wrist is a lot easier to notice than a vibration in my pocket.

Re:I don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068969)

I regularly miss phone calls, either my phone was silenced, or I'm biking and it's in a bag, or I'm just talking to a co-worker 50' away and my phone is sitting on my desk. My Pebble is always on my wrist, so I know when I'm getting a phone call now.

Additionally, I'm a Crossfit coach. My Pebble integrates with various music services, and allows me to quickly change songs, from *ANYWHERE* in the gym (~5000 sqft of open space) should a bad song start playing. This also works great in my car, as I can have Google Maps/Navigation running, and quickly, and more importantly safely, reach over and touch one button one my watch to skip a song I don't want to listen to. I guess it's technically not hands free, but it's far safer than even reaching over to change the radio station.

And I've only had my Pebble for a week or two. I've got a killer app (for me at least) that I'm going to start working on this weekend. I've never done Android development, but I'm familiar with embedded programming. Even if no one else likes my idea, it'll make my life easier, and is easily worth $150 (I missed the kickstarter :().

So yeah, go ahead and bitch about it. I suppose I bitch about things that I think are dumb too. But why bother? If you think it's that stupid, go put on your casio and do something productive today. Oh wait, sorry, this is the internet, I meant go troll other stupid people.

Re:I don't (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about 10 months ago | (#44069953)

"I'm a Crossfit coach."

Wooo! Go for it Mr Jack of All Trades!

"from *ANYWHERE* in the gym (~5000 sqft of open space)"

Wow, 5000 square ft. Thats ... er 70 foot by 70 foot (assuming its one single room). BFD. Not much of an example to your students if you couldn't be bothered run your lazy ass across that in a few seconds.

"should a bad song start playing."

Perhaps you should choose better songs to start with.

"and more importantly safely, reach over and touch one button one my watch to skip a song"

Oddly enough you can do that with most music devices. Wierd huh?

"I meant go troll other stupid people."

So you're admitting you're stupid? Fair enough.

Re:I don't (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#44070065)

I regularly miss phone calls, either my phone was silenced, or I'm biking and it's in a bag, or I'm just talking to a co-worker 50' away and my phone is sitting on my desk. My Pebble is always on my wrist, so I know when I'm getting a phone call now.

It has a 50' bluetooth range? That's better than I thought, the same thing happens to me a lot.

Re:I don't (2)

pdclarry (175918) | about 10 months ago | (#44069763)

If you want a gimmick watch Casio will do you a nice one for about $30 but I have to warn you that the days of digital watches being cool ended in about 1980 so you won't be getting any Hipsters putting down their skinny lattes in shock and envy by buying a Pebble either.

"The days of the digital [watch] are numbered"
                      - Tom Stoppard, the original script of The Real Thing
                          (he dropped the line in later revisions)

Re:I don't (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 10 months ago | (#44070017)

It's so funny when people say things everyone knows is wrong...

Re:I don't (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#44070079)

"The days of the digital [watch] are numbered"

It's so funny when people say things everyone knows is wrong...

No the funny thing is that while at the obvious level it is wrong, taken literally its true ,,, at least if the watch has a date function!

low Android sex drive (1)

epine (68316) | about 10 months ago | (#44073799)

I'm also getting closer to ten days per charge mainly running the low power Big Time watchface and not receiving too many notifications.

First win: I've programmed my own watchface with a non-standard time coordinate that matters to me.

Second win: I used to take a medication daily that had to be taken at a precise time in the mid-afternoon for optimum effect. Even after more than a year of practice, I still missed one audible watch alarm every ten days to two weeks. I don't wear my phone on my belt (it gets set down across the room when at home), so that wouldn't have been reliable either. Never miss Pebble's wrist buzzer if I'm wearing the watch. Even when I'm in the shower, if the the watch is placed on a hard surface, if makes enough noise to hear over the splashing water. I could wear it in the shower, but I don't wish to expose it to my nasty medicated shampoo.

Fortunately I've been immune all my life to any concern over whether someone out there might think something is cool, so far seeking out my own functionality. I like mine 20" square (in pairs) or small and unobtrusive. I find the 4" lifestyle most awkward of all: large enough to constantly notice you have it, too small to be completely effective. Likewise, I find Twitter completely ridiculous. Either the message should read "Beers 5 o'clock?" or it should be written with full sentences and paragraph units.

I watched a video on illicit cognitive enhancing drugs last night. I can see the appeal for the younger generation. They need to recover the 10% of their brain power they lose by the over-use of these ridiculous tweener form factors which specialize in mental fragments longer than a smoke signal and shorter than a completed thought.

Third win: This morning I received a phone call while I was still in bed. My watch rasped on my bed-side table so I opened one eye, determined it was a call I wanted that could wait for another hour, then rolled over and went right back to sleep. My phone was in the far corner of the house. I'm really surprised it works at all at that distance. (I've also missed a few from this distance. This might depend on charge status of one device or the other.)

Given that I don't actually sleep with my phone (low sex drive, I guess) my Pebble easily earns its keep.

Douglas Adams was correct⦠(4, Informative)

grahamlee (522375) | about 10 months ago | (#44068159)

Earth "is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

Re: Douglas Adams was correct⦠(0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068253)

Uhhh...unproven theories stated as fact? The world must still be flat for some people. The earth IS the most significant planet in the solar system, and we haven't heard of a single person pop into an ape, or a human into an amphibious form, for thousands of years. Crazy how some THEORIES make some people deceive themselves into believing they have something smart to say.

Re: Douglas Adams was correct⦠(1)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about 10 months ago | (#44068945)

Hi,
As a visiting alien from alpha centauri I can attest that you truly are a primitive species. I received a grant from FUYGLGLGO (untranstable - humans do not have brain capacity to understand this word) to research my theory that STUPIDITY AGGRESSIVENESS & SEX are the basic values of your primitive culture.

My visit here to do research is similar to Jane Goodall's chronicling the lives and interaction of wild chimpanzees in Africa.

On my planet when we see quaint videos of your specie I am reminded of your reactions when you see monkeys make ape sounds.

Unfortunately I cannot write much more than this for you do not have intelligence to understand.

yours truly,
stjiojgwi jkgooq

Re: Douglas Adams was correct⦠(1)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 10 months ago | (#44069435)

Uhhh...unproven theories stated as fact? The world must still be flat for some people. The earth IS the most significant planet in the solar system, and we haven't heard of a single person pop into an ape, or a human into an amphibious form, for thousands of years. Crazy how some THEORIES make some people deceive themselves into believing they have something smart to say.

The sound you're hearing is commonly referred to as the "Epic Woosh." It is similar to the sound of a Boeing 747 flying approximately six inches over your head.

The other sound you're hearing, or will hear once you've recovered from the Epic Woosh, is the sound of millions of geeks around world rolling their eyes at your colossal ignorance of science fiction canon.

But is there privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068183)

or will my gf see every time i get a whatsapp message from the mistress?

Re:But is there privacy? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 10 months ago | (#44068191)

As opposed to seeing it on your phone, where the UI helpfully displays the first line of text, in any message, for anyone to see?

Re:But is there privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068475)

Well if you stop sexting it wouldn't be a problem

Re:But is there privacy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068265)

Well if she accidentaly and without targetting you just so happens to have a full copy of all your communications and can reasonably believe you're hiding something from her, she's practically duty-bound to check, right?

Dumbwatches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068251)

Since this seems to be as good a place and time as any to ask, are there any really good 'normal' watches out there these days? I'm looking for a thing I can wear on my wrist and (almost) never have to recharge or change batteries for, that will do exactly two things: tell me the time accurately, and not be awkward to wear.

I've been looking at various automatic watches, but it seems that for most watches the price goes into platinum casings or diamond coverings or something. Are there watchmakers out there with good accuracy/price ratios?

Re: Dumbwatches (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068285)

Citizen Eco-Drive watches are great. They charge themselves with sunlight, office light, etc.

I love mine. It helps that mine has an aviator slide rule built in.

Re: Dumbwatches (1)

fbumg (632974) | about 10 months ago | (#44070327)

I have one of these as well. Been using it for over 10 years, still going strong.

Re:Dumbwatches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068295)

Why don't you use the internet to find out? Start with Tissot as a good compromise between price/quality/function

and stop being a troll

Re:Dumbwatches (5, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | about 10 months ago | (#44068375)

Are there watchmakers out there with good accuracy/price ratios?

Borrow a pen and write 5pm on your wrist. Now you have a timepiece that is accurate once per day, and costs you nothing. Assuming your desired time granularity is a millisecond, this watch is accurate for 0.000001% of the day. That's actually better than most watches, and when you divide by price the ratio becomes very attractive.

Re:Dumbwatches (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068527)

Shut up and take my money!

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about 10 months ago | (#44068601)

Nah, he should stick to an analog watch. Draw a circle on your wrist, with the big hand upwards and the little hand at 5 o'clock. It may not have the precision of your watch, but at least it's +/-5 minutes for 1.4% of the time.

For that steampunk feel, draw a fob watch on your nipple.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

Nuffsaid (855987) | about 10 months ago | (#44068819)

Leave out the "pm", and you double the accuracy while saving ink!

Re:Dumbwatches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44069095)

I'm patenting that!

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 10 months ago | (#44069685)

Leave out the "pm", and you double the accuracy while saving ink!

Hell, leave out the 5 instead and "pm" will be accurate half the day!

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44069871)

Leave out the pm, and it becomes accurate TWICE per day. Boom, double the performance, and a 66% reduction in ink.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

axlash (960838) | about 10 months ago | (#44069985)

Are there watchmakers out there with good accuracy/price ratios?

Borrow a pen and write 5pm on your wrist. Now you have a timepiece that is accurate once per day, and costs you nothing. Assuming your desired time granularity is a millisecond, this watch is accurate for 0.000001% of the day. That's actually better than most watches, and when you divide by price the ratio becomes very attractive.

People keep on talking about a stopped watch being correct once (or twice, if you go analog) a day, but that's no good if you don't know *when* it is accurate.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068401)

... are there any really good 'normal' watches out there these days? I'm looking for a thing I can wear on my wrist and (almost) never have to recharge or change batteries ....

I've been looking at various automatic watches...

I have an oldish Citizen ProMaster. It is an automatic diver's watch (being water-proof is another feature I wanted in addition to the telling time and no changing of batteries - and it displays date/day of week too. The mechanism is also still mechanical, no charging of some internal storage device to power some electronics - so should still run after that EMP event :-) ). Admittedly, it is a bit more pricey than the cheap chinese digitals (about $300 when I bought it).

Over the years, I have never been able to get it to stay accurate. Mostly it started to run fast when cooler weather sets in for whatever reason. Bringing it in to a watchmaker involves a couple of weeks' wait while it is sent to the local agent for a "service", which is quite expensive and involves amongst others a pressure test after reclosing it. Considering that for a simple diver's watch, the battery can be swopped and the waterproof-isity tested onsite by most jeweler's shops for a fraction of the time and cost, it does seem not worth it.

I have recently found a non-agent watchmaker, and will see if his service and repairs are any better than the agent's. If not, I guess it's a write-off and back to some cheap digital, which admittedly sometimes runs for a number of years on one battery.

Another concern with diver's watches are the rubber straps, which I had a number of crumble suddenly, presumably after exposure to sunscreen - which is not what you want in the sea - or even standing on a hard surface.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#44068797)

Since this seems to be as good a place and time as any to ask, are there any really good 'normal' watches out there these days? I'm looking for a thing I can wear on my wrist and (almost) never have to recharge or change batteries for, that will do exactly two things: tell me the time accurately, and not be awkward to wear.

With most Casios you'll only have to change the battery a few times in your lifetime. Hardly a drag.

If you want to splash out you can get them with built-in solar panels and radio sync for atomic-clock accuracy.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about 10 months ago | (#44075175)

I've got one of those; easily the most convenient watch I've ever owned; battery recharges from sunlight, apparently. I say "apparently" because it's never been down to zero charge. The cost/time/efort in changing batteries once a decade is worth the extra expense of having a non-battery watch.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 10 months ago | (#44068909)

My watch is 1. Analog for easy reading, 2. Solar powered so it will never run out of power, 3. radio synchronised so it is always more accurate than I need. It has day/date, but rather hard to read. The only extra feature I would add is an alarm, plus make the day/date more reasonable. It cost me GBP40 from a magazine special offer.

Re:Dumbwatches (1)

bitslinger_42 (598584) | about 10 months ago | (#44069743)

There are decent, reasonably priced (for certain values of reasonable) automatic watches out there, particularly by Hamilton and Tissot. They're not terribly expensive ($300-1000 range), and generally not too ostentatious. The down-side of the automatics, though, is that they're not as accurate or reliable as a quartz-based watch. You also trade off battery replacements for cleaning/servicing every few years, which runs $75+ per service last I knew.

The Citizen Eco line of watches is very nice. They're quartz-based, so they're accurate, and they have solar charging that's not really obvious on the face, so you don't have to worry about batteries as much, and have more features than a "cheap" automatic (i.e. the one I've got has a date and enough smarts to know whether the current month has 28, 29, 30, or 31 days). They're also less expensive than decent automatics, some of which are available in the sub-$100 range.

YOU FAIL iT.O. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068559)

product, BSd's

It would be nice if you could actually BUY one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44068651)

I have been waiting to buy a pebble since Christmas. http://getpebble.com/ has been a static page for the whole year so far. Yes I have signed up for updates but not a peep out of them.

When are they coming!!

Re:It would be nice if you could actually BUY one (1)

DJProtoss (589443) | about 10 months ago | (#44068693)

Given they haven't yet shipped all the kickstarter orders, I'm afraid it will be a while, although I did hear they were shipping some pre-orders in black, so perhaps not that long if you don't mind that colour.

Re:It would be nice if you could actually BUY one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44069119)

Mine arrived yesterday

Re:It would be nice if you could actually BUY one (1)

Yer Mom (78107) | about 10 months ago | (#44069731)

I backed Pebble on Kickstarter and my grey one's only recently moved to the "processing shipment" stage. So you might want to not hold your breath if you want to order right now :)

The last Kickstarter update was sent out at the end of May, but that might only go to backers; the update list you signed up to might not fire up until all the Kickstarter watches are sent out.

Re:It would be nice if you could actually BUY one (1)

SanDogWeps (2882399) | about 10 months ago | (#44070517)

Yeah - article after article about how spiffy all the apps are, but nary a watch available to put them on. So we wait. And wait. And wait...

Ok (3, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#44070123)

was a nifty, if pricey, way to get notifications from your phone without having to go to the effort of pulling your phone out of your pocket.

Everything wrong with America and humanity in 27 words.

going backwards (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 10 months ago | (#44070355)

Is it just me or are all the tech companies today having a contest to see who can make the worst hardware user interface controls? It went from desktops to laptops with bad touchpads and bad keyboards with no number pads to touchscreen tablets that are virtually impossible to type on to touchscreen cell phones that are even worse because they're tiny to a watch that's basically impossible to control with anything. Game designers are already complaining that touch and tilt aren't fast enough to control games or other apps in Android. Now they expect them to come up with something for a watch?

Is there an app (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44071029)

that answers you in the voice of KITT?

Re:Is there an app (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44072873)

No but the workout app goes "OH BAM BAM!"

Ferrari red and hopeful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44136421)

I have one. Pebble, that is (actually I have two - the other one is a Ferrari -- well, the red-coloured version. Plz don't tell the wife). Right now I am underwhelmed but "hopeful". I have had a day's worth of "fun" fiddling with watchfaces that work as watches and not much more. First User Warning: In the process I discovered that a poorly disclosed detail is that currently it is only possible to add 8 "things" (watch face or app) to the Pebble. Maybe frustrating but at least means you can't load it up with tons of cr*p (like I have my S3!). Right now using the Pebble all feels like the early days of The Web, when you could access very basic information but not much more. Maybe that will improve with a Pebble 2.0 too? So after my "Phase 1: Choose your watch face" I am now into "Phase 2: Decide what notifications will be useful rather than annoying". With all the comms apps on your iDevice/AndroidDevice these days there can be a never-ending series of vibrations going on on your wrist, and they are not as silent as one might think. Did I mention they can be annoying? So, this is a thinking-persons watch, as in "I wonder what I really want/need to use this for?". "Phase 3: What apps shall I connect to other than SMS, WhatsApp, etc.?" is on hold right now as (unsurprisingly) there are not many apps out there, and anyway most are basically of Web 1.0 style. I.e. basic. Very basic. But as the SDK (at least the first one) is out I am "hopeful". I've already had an idea -- wouldn't it be wicked if there was a way to design at least one face/app yourself, one where you can treat the watch as a sort of split-screen device sucking in data from a range of sources (think banking screens with multi feeds) whereby you can select say three or four bits of information (e.g. heart-rate, altitude, and time in Hong-Kong)) and have the Pebble display this as your own home-made screen concoction? One last observation. Unless you like to wear two timepieces, and because by definition this wearable technology MUST be worn to do what it is supposed to do (Hint: The strap -- even the longer iteration -- is NOT long enough to attach diver-style around your thigh) you are going to have to discard your nice Rolex, Swatch, [Other make] watch and keep it safe in your bedside cupboard until you get bored with the "hopes unfulfilled" Pebble. Anyone out there want to buy a Ferrari-red version. Original price plus postage?

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