Productivity Review of the Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble on Wrist

I haven’t worn a watch in years.

My phone has been my timepiece of choice for a long time.

However, the Pebble smartwatch changed all of that this past week.

Would you wear a watch that integrates with your phone for calls and messages?

A Phone on Your Wrist?

Apparently, many people would wear a watch that ties into their phone.

The Pebble smartwatch was the most successful Kickstarter project to date. The project raised $10.2M (yes, Million) to build the Pebble. The media was awash with news about the Pebble smartwatch launch this week. (This also stoked many a rumor of an Apple iWatch.)

The Pebble is a smartwatch that links to your iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth. It allows messages, call alerts, and more to be passed from your phone to your wrist.

I received my Pebble watch last Friday, and have been using it for about a week now.

A Work in Progress

First things first, the Pebble is a work in progress.

Out the box, there was already a software update waiting.

Connecting the Pebble to my iPhone was straightforward. However, early on, I had several instances when the Pebble lost the connection requiring a reset. (This issue seemed to go away after a second software update was released.)

As well, I had one phone call where the watch kept vibrating for the duration of the call.

Pebble Update

There are no apps available for the Pebble as of this writing. Just a few downloadable custom “watchfaces.”

With these limitations, the Pebble has still changed the way I interact with my iPhone.

There are three main features I am using with my Pebble:

  • Text Messages – Pebble receives text messages (and iMessages) from my iPhone and I can read them on the watch. This seems like a simple thing, yet it is very nice to not have to pull my phone out during a meeting. I can quickly see the message with a glance at my wrist. Much less intrusive.
  • Answer/Deny Calls – My favorite feature of the Pebble is the ability to screen calls via the watch. When my phone rings, I can see the name of the caller on the Pebble and accept/deny the call with a quick button press. Again, very handy to prevent interruptions.
  • Silent Alarm – I love silent alarms. The Pebble has a simply vibrating alarm that allows multiple times to be set for reminders. I use it to wake me up in the mornings without waking my wife. (I used to use a Lark to silently wake me, however the Pebble immediately replaced it.)

More Interruptions or Less?

As I used the Pebble for the first week, it received lots of attention from me.

It also got a lot attention from others, who were intrigued by the concept. There was a mix of geeky reactions and jealousy.

Overall, I had mixed feelings as to whether the Pebble was preventing interruptions or causing more distractions.

On one hand, I was able to stop many interruptions by a quick glance or button press on my wrist.

However, every text and call caused a vibration on my watch. (I could always put my phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode.)

Where Does Pebble Go from Here?

Where are we headed with devices like the Pebble?

Some people doubt that we will be wearing devices like this. Then again, if I told you ten years ago that we could be carrying our computers in our pockets, you would have also doubted.

I haven’t worn a watch in years, and the Pebble smartwatch changed that overnight.

For now, it’s not leaving my wrist.

Question: Would you wear a watch that integrates with your smartphone?

9 thoughts on “Productivity Review of the Pebble Smartwatch

  1. I would say yes, I would use a device like this. It’s much handier than having to constantly pull my phone out. I assume the phone has to be within broadcast distance of the watch since they are linked via bluetooth. If I were working at a coffeshop, it would be nice to have the phone in my bag and not have to pull it out unless my wife or kids callled (assuming I’m not taking business calls at that time)…The next step for me would be to have the Pebble (or something like it) be entirely wireless on its own and tied to our phone network so that I could use it to communicate if need be. Thanks for sharing Craig!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I would love to wear this kinf of watches. I also stopped wearing a watch for years no need for it but this concept is very interesting however I have some doubts about battery life the blutooth on my Android device is always turned off because of this.
    Maybe Blutooth battery draining is not an issue on iPhone though.

  3. I have been using Sony Smartwatch with my Android Sony phone since the new year. I like the concept and the very first reason why I got it was not to miss calls as I do with the phone in my pocket sometimes (if I set the volume to low which is what I often do). That need has been answered for sure, with the exception of a few small glitches I’ve had so far when the watch got disconnected from the phone. Just like with your Pebble, the watch does attract quite a few looks and produce quite a few wows. Before getting it, I have not been wearing a wristwatch for many years as well. As to the way it looks, I think Sony Smartwatch is a bit ahead of the Pebble. One thing I don’t quite like is the rubber wristband – but in case of the Smartwatch it can be replaced with a proper leather one. Also, by the time I got it, it already had a number of apps developed for it and available via Google Play. Overall, while this is of course still a very early phase for both devices as well as the concept as a whole, in my view this has a lot of potential and will certainly keep developing and we will soon see many mind boggling applications of the technology. How about wearing a whole computer on your wrist? I don’t think that would not be possible some time soon. Clearly some of the constraints to overcome would be the small screen size and the shaky (at times) Bluetooth connection, as well as limited input options, but I guess we’re already moving in that direction with mobile phones so why not watches.

  4. I got my Pebble watch about a week ago. I didn’t put it on until today. Having the notification feature didn’t seem like enough reason to make the change but I am going to try it out. I am looking forward to having app features like the promised pedometer which my current iPod nano watch currently has. (Hey IT IS still within the first 60 days of the constant healthy goal time period of new year’s resolutions!) I believe then and with more apps I will be forever attached to my new Pebble watch.

  5. An interesting take on the Pebble and a good read. Myself, I am using mine in business and it is great in meetings. I did a review of it at my site and covered the history which led to its success.

    Quote:

    “No recent product launch has grasped the Zeitgeist as much as the Pebble watch. It represents a perfect storm of elements coming together all at once and its success is going to be studied for years.

    The story of the Pebble is intimately bound to the story of the website that enabled it: Kickstarter. Much of the media attention has been about this new marketplace, which must be an absolute boon for economists; for it represents the operation of market forces in a pure microcosm, and like evolution isolated on a small island many weird and wonderful creatures are born. Eventually there can be Island Gigantism and this is a story of such a monster being formed.”

    You can take look here:http://www.outsidecontext.com/2013/02/23/pebble-smart-watch-reviewmore-than-just-potential/

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