I Want to Love My Pebble

It’s true, I really want to love the Pebble that I got from being a Kickstarter backer. I want to, but right now I can’t. I can only like it. And I can like it a lot — there’s a lot to like!

  • I have a computer on my arm!
  • I can read text messages without taking my phone out
  • I can control music that’s playing on my phone
  • WordPress notifications on my wrist? Yep.
  • Calendar alerts? Got ‘em.
  • The form-factor is slick: it’s slim, super lightweight and IMHO, looks pretty darned cool.
  • Nice backlight, which I can activate by shaking my wrist or tapping the watch
  • It’s waterproof! (although I’m too nervous to actively put that to the test)

So why can’t I love it? Let me count the ways (biggest reasons first):

  1. Every time the watch disconnects from Bluetooth on my phone, you have to go into your Notification Settings and reconfigure things to “bump” Pebble and tell it to display them, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except…
  2. My Pebble randomly loses its connection to my phone. Sometimes not for a day or 2, sometimes 5 times a day.
  3. The Pebble also seems to randomly (much less often than losing the connection) reset; going back to the default watch face.
  4. When I receive 2 text messages right after each other (e.g. it’s actually one long message, split over 2), I can’t read the previous one because the latest one is the only one that’s accessible.
  5. CallerID doesn’t work, so incoming calls just show the number, not the name, even if the number is in my Address Book.
  6. There are no apps for the iPhone. None. As far as I can tell, there is not a single, released 3rd-party app available for the Pebble, despite a few very public claims early in the development process to the contrary. The biggest two that got a lot of attention were supposed IFTTT and RunKeeper integrations. They don’t exist or are not public. And the reason for this?
  7. They still haven’t released their SDK for anything other than Android.
  8. It doesn’t even have a basic countdown timer/stopwatch built into the Pebble. This wouldn’t be a big deal if there was anyone developing apps for it, because I assume this would be one of the first ones to get created.
  9. When making a call, the Pebble appears as an audio source (which is just annoying, it doesn’t really break anything), despite the fact that…
  10. There’s no microphone on the watch. This is an “extra”, but they really should have just gone ahead and put one in there. If I had a microphone, I could use the Pebble + standard headphones and be able to have a quick conversation without requiring an inline remote+mic configuration. I could also use things like Siri, or other voice-activated apps a little bit more easily.
  11. When you dismiss a notification on the Pebble, it doesn’t truly dismiss it on the phone, so you get the follow-up buzz from your phone if you have that enabled, making you think you got another message (which didn’t show up on your Pebble for some reason).

To be fair, the Pebble is new tech. I’m an early-adopter in this case and things are (obviously) still pretty rough. Hopefully with some time they will smooth them out, get some developers on board and developing cool things. I am concerned that if they don’t do that soon though, they’re going to miss their window and people will feel burned by the whole experience. With Apple supposedly working on their own smartwatch, now is the only chance Pebble is going to get to secure their position in the market. It’s a fair bet that whatever Apple do, it will be more impressive than a no-touch, no-mic, b&w-screened device riddled with bugs.

Like I said, I really want to love my Pebble. I just hope they can get all these kinks worked out sooner rather than later.

  1. dice1976 said:

    I too am an early adopter and I think this article is SPOT ON!

    the item about bluetooth and the watch being shown up as an "audio source" in a call is very annoying… I also deeply think that there should have been a count down timer & stop watch at minimal factory installed. Even a casio nothing watch for $5 has those features.

  2. johannisthinking said:

    I had no idea a "Pebble" existed somewhere besides along the seashore! Thank you for enlightening me! You write so clearly, that even in my technological ignorance, I get it! LOL I shared you on my Facebook page, thinking there will be others out there who will enjoy your article, Beau! I am still learning WORDPRESS much less Pebble! Thanks for the morning stretch of the mind! Forward!

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