Since i am curious about all those shiny smartwatches that are offered everywhere nowadays, i think now is the time to give one of them a try. I found a really good offer for a Pebble 1st generation watch, so i just bought it.
Setup of the watch was quite easy. I just charged the battery and used my Android phone with the Pebble app to configure everything. Pebble is doing a distinction between watchfaces and apps. I installed a nice Star Trek styled watchface which shows a lot of information at once, like time, date, temperature.
What i like about the Pebble is the long battery time which is around one week. If battery is running low, it deactivates bluetooth and smartwatch functions, and it will still work for several days as a normal watch, showing time and date. I can recharge the battery in about one hour. But battery is really no issue with this watch, i even haven’t taken the charger connection cable with me on a weekend trip.
What is working really good and gives me some added value with my phone is the notifications. Whatsapp, SMS, EMail is sent from my phone via a notification to the watch, where i can take a short look to decide if i want to take of the phone to read the message. I can also send short answers like smileys, “Ok” or “On my way” right from the watch. Also checking next appointments from the calendar can be done with the press of a button.
There is also some integration with runtastic fitness app that i am using.
The Pebble is fun and i am really happy with it.
But i also have some negative points, which are not fully Pebble related, but i will explain now.
My daily phone is a Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone 8.1. This gives me some headache. There are apps available for Windows Phone to get the Pebble watch work. I have had the most success with an app called “Pebble Watch Pro”. I also tried another one called “Pebble Essentials”, but PWP has more features. You can update your Pebble firmware, install watchfaces and apps. And you can also get some notification from your calendar and twitter to work. But most important notification like new mail, new message are not working due to security restrictions of the OS.
But the big drawback are limitations of the Windows Phone OS. You can not have applications run in the background, so the PWP app must always be the active application, otherwise the connection to the Pebble watch is lost. I also noticed a big battery gain using the app. My Lumia needs to be recharged every 6 hours using the app, which is no fun.
The next limitation is that Windows Phone does not allow to run Java Script code within apps. But this is the way Pebble apps work, so all Pebble apps that need code to be run on the phone are not working. The developer of PWP is doing a great job in adapting those apps, but he needs to do it manually for every Pebble app by converting the Java Script code to C# and letting the PWP companion app execute this code instead of the original Java Script stuff for each app. All this results in most apps not working if you have a Windows Phone.
Microsoft tried to support the Pebble themselves. There was an unofficial app that you can still install if you have a Windows Phone developer account. This way the app can run in the background and you get can get all Windows Phone notifications to work. But due to some dispute between Pebble and M$ this support is not developed any further. So this only works with old firmware of Pebble.
So to play with my Pebble i have to use my Android phone, sorry M$ you could have made this easier.