Pebble kickstarts two new smartwatches, plus the screenless Core


Get ready for what could be the next record-breaking Kickstarter — Pebble is introducing three devices on the fundraising website. The company has broken records every time it launched a product on Kickstarter, ever since the Pebble Classic launched four years ago.

It’s hard to imagine that Pebble only launched its first device in 2012, but now its portfolio has grown to include four more devices: the Pebble Time, Pebble Steel, Pebble Time Steel, and the Pebble Time Round.

Now you can add the Pebble 2, the Pebble Time 2, and the Pebble Core to that list. The former two are fitness-focused smartwatches, but the latter is a first for the company — it’s Pebble’s first non-smartwatch device. All the new devices are Kickstarter exclusives, so you’ll have to back the campaign to get them first.

The Pebble Core is the company’s first non-smartwatch device. It’s sort of a modern-day miniature Walkman, mixed with a plethora of other features, that’s meant to replace your phone while on your daily run or workout. The small, square-shaped Core can be clipped to your clothing or can be stored in your pocket. You can throw in a SIM to gain cellular access, but you can also pair it to your iOS or Android device, headsets, or a Pebble smartwatch via Bluetooth.

You can plug in your earbuds and stream music exclusively via Spotify Premium at the moment, but the Core comes with 4GB of storage, allowing you to store some music and play locally if you want. You can track your pace and distances thanks to built-in GPS Sync, which can pair with apps like Runkeeper, Strava, Google Fit, Under Armour Record, and MapMyRun. There’s also a dedicated button on the Core that lets you trigger activities via Pebble apps, such as ordering an Uber.

Things start getting a little different with the Core’s “voice notes” feature, which lets you mumble any thoughts or ideas you have during your workout that you want to save for another time. Of course, since the idea is to leave your phone behind with the Core, you’ll be able to trigger an emergency SOS notification with your location to specific contacts if you find yourself in a spot of trouble.

Since the Pebble Core has GPS capabilities, it can act as a tracker when you’re not using it for your run. It can track you and play music for up to nine hours before it will need another recharge. It comes with a standard cable, but the Core supports Qi wireless charging if you have a spare Qi charger lying around.

If we’re going by names, then the Pebble 2 is the successor to the original Pebble Classic, not the Pebble Time, which debuted last year. The second-generation Pebble acts more like your average fitness band as it can track your sleep, steps, and heart rate.

The monochromatic Pebble 2 has a built-in microphone, like the Pebble Time, for quick replies and taking voice notes. Of course, you’ll still be able to use all the existing Pebble-compatible apps and watch faces, but the operating system has been upgraded — it’s now better at one-click actions to execute actions much faster.

The watch, which can pair with your iOS or Android device, is water-resistant up to 30 meters, and a charge lasts a week. You can choose between five colors: black, white, black and red, teal and white, and neon yellow and black.

The Pebble 2 will set you back $99, and will ship in September of this year.

The Pebble Time 2 is a successor to a device that’s only a year old. Like its predecessor, it retains a color e-paper display, but Pebble says the second-generation Time is more than 50 percent larger and has a higher resolution, with 80 percent more pixels.

It’s more or less a higher-end version of the Pebble 2, as it has the same built-in microphone and heart-rate monitor. While the Pebble 2 lasts only a week, the Pebble Time 2 can stay charged for 10 days. It’s available in gold, silver, and black for $169, and will begin shipping in November.

Pebble needs a hit with one of these devices — the company recently laid off 25 percent of its workforce, and CEO Eric Migicovsky said “money [among venture capital firms in Silicon Valley] is pretty tight these days.”

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