Today’s Tech

Pebble Smartwatch isn’t your hipster calculator wrist watch

Tired of pulling your phone out of your pocket for every text message you receive? A new smartwatch gives you the opportunity to view some of your smartphone’s features on your wrist.

What’s so special about the Pebble E-Paper Watch? It may just appear to be an e-paper display (much like a Kindle e-book reader) with the functionality to display basic text, but it is much more than that.

Customizable watch faces allow a user to change from a traditional analog or digital display to a written display (for example, “three forty-seven” versus “3:47”).

Due to its Bluetooth connection, notifications such as text messages, phone calls, emails and tweets can be sent to your wrist. It also has the ability to control music playing on your phone indirectly through your watch.

Although features of the device are currently limited, an upcoming release of their software development kit to programmers will allow for the creation of new apps, much like the iPhone and Android devices it already works with. Such forthcoming apps include a RunKeeper application that would allow users to check their pace, mileage and time right from their wrist.

The Pebble E-Paper Watch began as a Kickstarter crowd-funding project. The developer Eric Migicovsky was trying to raise $100,000 to begin production. Two hours after beginning the pre-ordering process, they had already reached that target. In just over a month, the funding ceased, with over $10.2 million pledged by 68,928 individuals.

I put my $115 pre-order (which will retail for $150 when it goes on sale later this year) for the Pebble in mid-April of last year. With a lengthy but well-informed delay, my black Pebble arrived last week. The novelty of such a device is still lingering, but as more and more functionally will be given toward the device, the usability will continue to grow.

For me, the ability to discern the importance of a text message or phone call in class without having to pull out my phone is a useful feature. Another use for such device will be this summer, tubing down the Muskegon River controlling the music playing out of my waterproof speaker.

Although tech goliath Apple is now rumored to be coming out with an iWatch, the Pebble E-Paper Watch will allow for cross-platform support with a large user and fan base before the watch was even produced.