After enduring an unexpected three month delay, Kickstarter backers of The Pebble smartwatch will finally start to see first shipments going out on January 23rd.
During a press conference hosted at CES on Wednesday — Allerta announced that The Pebble would begin shipping to some 85K backers at the end of January in the order which payments were received on Kickstarter.
The company confirmed that manufacturing rates are running at 15K Pebble watches per week — which means it could take 6 to 8 weeks to fulfill all Kickstarter orders. Once those orders have been fullfilled, new pre-order customers will be next on the list to ship.
Allerta's Eric Migicovsky spoke to the reason for the long delay as he touted Pebble's updated feature set and the addition of Bluetoooth 4.0 which he referred to as "future-proofing" for his product.
“The delays mainly stem from us shifting our focus from a simple, more rudimentary device rather than what we're proud of — which is a full-blown consumer electronics product,” said Eric Migicovsky.
“That definitely took longer than we planned for in the beginning — but we feel like the extra 3.5 month delay will be worth it in the long run based on all the future-proofing we've been able to do for Pebble.”
Several updated Pebble features include a Bluetooth 4.0 module along with an ambient light sensor that can detect lighting conditions, both technologies were employed to conserve power. The smartwatch is equipped with a 1.26-inch backlit (144 x 168 pixels, black and white) e-paper display which features two very readable font size options.
The Pebble works with a companion iOS or Android app used for changing 3 built-in watch faces and pushing iMessages, email, SMS and other notifications. Migicovsky made it clear that his Pebble was originally intended as a sport watch, but the use of an open SDK will allow developers to innovate future updates for couch surfing geeks.
The slick backlighting feature is gesture controlled requiring only a single tap on the face or a flick of the wrist to engage.
A magnetic USB charging cable snaps onto The Pebble — allowing the waterproof rating to remain in place and run for 7 days on one charge. The watch has a 5ATM water resistance rating, which means you can shower with your Pebble and control your iTunes music from right inside the wet zone.
Eric Migicovsky is convinced that the mass produced Pebble lives up to the prototype watches that hauled in over $10 million from some 69,000 Kickstarter backers in April of last year.
The watch which weights only 38.2 grams comes with a standard 22mm band and will be shipped in four colors including red, white, black, orange and gray.
With recent news that Apple is working on their own iPhone-Friendly Smartwatch, a confirmed ship date for The Pebble became paramount. I'm certain that rumors of Apple getting into wearable computing is just a question of when at this point.
Although some backers lost patience with the excruciatingly long waiting process, enthusiasm from true Pebble faithful still remains high. If you want to get in line for your own Pebble watch it will cost you $150 and then it's your turn to hurry up and wait.
You can use this link to check where you are in the Kickstarter shipping order simply by typing in your name.