Wearable Tech World Feature Article
February 24, 2015

Pebble's Next Generation Smartwatch May Have Leaked

With the Apple Watch likely to be arriving in an April launch, there's little denying that the wearable tech world as we know it is about to be very much shaken up. With a new “hero device”, as Tractica's Aditya Kaul put it recently, about to hit the wearable tech market, it's reasonable enough to think that the other devices in the field might want to revamp to better meet the competitive threat this device represents. New reports suggest that Pebble may be in just such a position, as the next generation of Pebble devices briefly slipped out and gave us a temporary look at the new system.

The new Pebble device is said to pack a color display using something similar to e-paper as its base, which helps allow for an overall thinner design. The device has also reportedly had its operating system (OS) overhauled, which should provide a set of new benefits in its own right. But the image that reportedly slipped out—and was shortly after replaced with the image of a standard Pebble on the Pebble site soon after—shows just how far the changes are actually going.

The new Pebble image showed a device with a larger overall bezel than the previous Pebble, but also with smaller buttons than its predecessor. The device is said to be thinner, but will also have roughly the same battery life as the original Pebble. The changes won't be strictly cosmetic, either, as the next Pebble is slated to have a six-axis gyroscope and be powered by a Cortex M4 processor. The operating system also got plenty of retooling, and from the folks who did WebOS, which means there will be a new timeline view, complete with recent notifications, as well as several new animations. Reports suggest that there will also be plenty of room for third-party applications, so that's no issue.

It's good to see Pebble working to make its device better, especially in the face of the likely onslaught of competition that's likely to come when the Apple Watch hits. After all, Apple hasn't had a dog in this particular hunt yet, so to speak, which means that Apple buffs who would have bought Apple on the strength of the name alone have been shopping elsewhere. Hopefully, the “elsewhere” products have already really hooked those Apple buyers, because once Apple gets on the field, it's likely to get at least some of those users back. That means market share losses for just about everybody, and the real hope here is to minimize the losses. But if Pebble can bring out a new device before the Apple Watch hits, it's likely to keep at least some of those who might have made the migration. Some have been using Pebble since it first came out, and if Pebble can improve an experience that's already familiar, it's a lot more likely to keep that experience going, and keep users out of the Apple camp.

Only time will tell just what impact the new Pebble has, but if it's going to make a move, it had better do so soon, lest Apple's entry start really pulling market share out from under Pebble.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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