Pebble

So I finally picked up a Pebble smartwatch. Best Buy's finally got them in stock, and it even managed to ship out the same day I ordered, and get here the following day. Take that, Kickstarter.

This should be an interesting experiment. I haven't worn a watch in years. Between phones and sitting in front of computers and always having a clock either in my office or where I am at home — newspapers were always kinda serious about that whole deadline thing, and cable boxes are quick and easy clocks — I just never saw the need to strap something onto my wrist to give me the same information I could get by simply looking up.

Smartwatches do so much more than just tell time, though. But that's another interesting part of this experiment. I'm currently using the Moto X (and, yes, writing our review, finally) which does its part at getting notifications to you quickly and easily. Now I've combined that with notifications on my wrist.  Neither Pebble nor the Moto X Active Display can act on these notifications, though, so it's a one-way street for now. But, still, it's pretty clear that  notifications are where it's at these days. I'm really curious to see Google's take on all that, assuming the rumors of it making a smartwatch are true.

Other things I think I think:

  • Speaking of our Moto X review — I've not been in too big a hurry to write it. That's partly because we've still got a few weeks before you'll be able to order one, so there's no huge rush. It's also because I've simply enjoyed using it that much. (Mostly.) I'm in love with the design and ease of use.
  • Oy, but that camera.
  • For a good preview of what I'll probably end up writing on Moto X, be sure to check out last week's podcast.
  • Glad to see the Nexus 7 2013 factory images see the light of day. Sad to see blogs act so silly over the whole thing with such little information.
  • Speaking of "kickstarting" tech ... Ubuntu Edge is a little more than a quarter of the way to its $32 million goal, with 11 days left. Color me surprised that it's not gonna make it.
  • But how awesome does Canary look? Thing is, it's not shipping for another 9 months. I'm a consumer, not a financier. Call me when I can buy one.
  • We're nearing a pretty big milestone for the Android Central app. And we're hard at work on v1.4. Should be good stuff ahead. I've cleaned up the welcome message on the beta page, which should help ease the pain of signing up.
  • Say what you want about Facebook — and I can say plenty — but they really did a nice job with their beta program instructions, from which I cribbed.
  • Whenever a manufacturer says "it's not about the specs," you can pretty much bet they're about to drop a bunch of specs on you.
  • And I'm pretty much ignoring anything a manufacturer says about its cameras until I actually start taking some pictures myself. Been burned too many times now.
  • Talk Mobile 2013 resumes this week with more great discussion from your favorite Mobile Nations editors, some really smart people in this industry and, most important, you!

Last week's top stories

Here's a look at what you read last week, based on page views:

  1. Getting the most out of Google Now voice actions
  2. LG G2 hands-on
  3. Inside the Moto X Active Display
  4. Stock Talk: The economics of the Moto X
  5. Hands-on with the Android Device Manager remote wipe feature

Worth watching ...

Acclaimed director Werner Herzog directed a documentary for the "It Can Wait" campaign. You're too cool to watch it, I know. But, to me, this is still far more important than unlocked bootloaders or the number of cores in your phone or even the almighty #holoyolo.

Take a half-hour and watch this. It's incredibly moving.

And put the damn phone down when you're in the car.

 
There are 51 comments

NovaSS369 says:

Are you saying the camera is not that great in the X?

fjleon says:

Everyone has already said that the camera sucks big time

ejraney says:

I think it's more the interface, or the lack thereof that sucks. Of course that does affect the camera itself.

Posted via Android Central App

Jaredshoes says:

Nooo..plenty of reviewers have said the images are soft and washed out like crazy.

Posted via Android Central App

Kayone73 says:

Nope the criticisms have all about picture quality, ive read no complaints about the camera interface. Bottom line with the current photo software, pictures do not come out well

Posted via Android Central App

Man, that's disappointing to hear. I have an Atrix HD along with a Lumia 920, which has an amazing camera, while the Atrix camera is awful to put it nicely. I was really hoping Moto had improved the camera on the X. Damn. :/

neonworm says:

They said it can easily be fixed by a software update.

oflife says:

I have a Moto RAZR i (M in US), and whilst the camera launches instantly (really!) and the video is ok, the stills are dull and there is no way to pre-focus. I have downloaded an app to saturate the colours a bit. But if the Moto X is like this, that is a pity because if Motorola are trying to move people away from the iPhone, they really do have to ensure every feature is better - camera and music player first. Else, what's the point? The demographic the X is targeted at (hence user selectable rear case) is the same as the iPhone, HTC One etc.

ken512 says:

Went into best buy and they did not have one on display. So I bought one anyways and when I opened it, it looked like a child watch so I took it back. If they had one one display I would not have bought it...

Posted via Android Central App

sk3litor says:

You should check out "hot" smartwatches. Much more classy and adult looking

mwara244 says:

Smart watches need to let you leave your phone behind in order for them to be sueful. Like being able to work out or do physical activities without the phone and play music so you don't have to worry about your phone getting wet or sweaty, or fear of dropping it or breaking, then smart watches will be worth it.

DJLevy7 says:

Everything I've read says that me camera on the X mutes the color horribly and pictures are washed out. I'll be interested to read the review here and see.

Posted via Android Central App

jaydubbs says:

@NovaSS369 I would have to say that he is indeed saying that the camera is not that great. Every review that I've read has said that it's not that great. It wows in some shots and blows in others.

joshua.worth says:

Picked up a Pebble and didn't like the chinyness so I took it right back.

schrack3000 says:

It looked like a chin? I don't get it.

xketchupx says:

think he meant shiny

neonworm says:

Lol

Ah, I'm really tired of using smartphones with horrible cameras (as far as smart phones go). The Nexus 4 camera is decent but I would love to have a S4, IP5 caliber camera on this thing. Would make it the best phone ever. Was hoping the MX camera would be on that level, that would make the phone a no brained to buy. But since its not great I'll hold off. Only have had my N4 for 10 months anyway.

Posted via Android Central App

lfeuln says:

Moto just doesn't seem to know how to make good cameras. Darn. If the next Nexus (whenever it may be) also disappoints I kind of give up there. :-(

Posted via Android Central App

chronophilos says:

I really appreciate that AC take their time to thoroughly evaluate a product before releasing a review. Unlike some other tech sites that released their "review" the day after the announcement. These other guys spent 15 minutes of their podcast bashing LG and the g2, until their editor tellingly admits that "the software may be buggy, I don't know, I haven't used one."

Posted via Android Central App

vergecast?

chronophilos says:

Precisely.

Posted via Android Central App

xgalalx says:

Is there any Editor's Ass ??? LOL

Sorry Phil I love you .

mcgowan398 says:

Just get the previous iPod Nano and tape it to your wrist :P

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ

mcgowan398 says:

Yep

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ

StinkySocky says:

On an iPod Nano, you can't read your texts, emails, other notifications, get CUSTOM watchfaces, or play games, and the battery life is not nearly as good.

Posted via Android Central App

scaots says:

I think pebble or other options are extremely appealing for folks who may work or do things that they can't be checking their phone, but want to know if anything important is coming through. I particularly like to look at my Pebble just to not have to check notifications or switch apps when I am doing something else on the phone. I like my pebble, but I was in on Kickstarter and not sure that I would pay $150 now especially with rumors of other competitors. There is that (Chinese?) smartwatch with sim, GPS, BT, and some customized android version that I would love to have for jogging but unfortunately it is not US frequency bands.

crxssi says:

? I never look at my phone unless it beeps. And if I miss it, it will beep again every two minutes until I do look. Effective, simple.

I will never understand people who obsessively keep checking their phones or worry about a stupid blinking light.

I guess a smart watch link could be useful in some cases.

tramsay09 says:

@philnickinson you should check out some of the awesome watchfaces and games at www.mypebblefaces.com

gomfam says:

Or you should try Canvas for Pebble if you are on Android.

cad13 says:

Me, I give up ! I bought a Kreyos (I'm sure I will get it earlier !!!)

Phil, thank you for sharing that video. I know what is going to be in my Editor's update article today.

In regards to the Moto X camera, do you feel the issues can be taken care of via future updates? Or will this be held back by the hardware itself?

Eric379 says:

Thanks, Phil. Agreed, incredibly moving. As a 20 year paramedic I've seen the devastation caused by distracted driving. And I've also been guilty of it. At the end of the shift today, my phone will be locked in the glove box. With the same key that starts the car.

Posted via Android Central App

ejraney says:

As a 911 dispatcher, and volunteer firefighter I too have seen what happens way to often with distracted driving.

Posted via Android Central App

StinkySocky says:

I've got one of these. It's pretty good, although it scratches kind of easily, so get a screen protector. I do wonder, though, what school policies will be for wearable technology like this.

Posted via Android Central App

zero.efx says:

Man... I just watched that One Second to the Next, Phil. Thank you for posting something like that. It's a good find and as a father and an uncle who's nephew's are coming to the age of getting their license and first cars I'm going to sit them down and have them watch this. It puts a lot of things in perspective. I believe the punishment for neglecting to keep your eyes on the road should be a lot more severe... It's heart breaking that these people have had their lives changed in such a dramatic way over a simple text.

Naruvam says:

Good thing about MotoX camera is that problem is on the software level so they might fix it with ota.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

I am guessing that some of the issues with the camera have to do with the X being a near stock experience. I am not bashing stock by saying that the interface is a bit sparse when you compare it to the One, SGS line, etc.

I am hoping that Phil uses something like HDR camera or another app and compare whether it is software or hardware related.

I thought the Razr line had decent cameras...but I mostly do not buy Moto

sk3litor says:

So wait, what do you think of the pebble? Ive actually been interested in "hot" smartwatches myself.

gomfam says:

get you a Pebble and if you have Android.. install Canvas and make your own watch face.

NFLPLAYBOOK says:

They were so slow at getting it to market that they lost my interest. I see the Sony Smartwatch 2 as a better alternative and while I'm waiting for it to hit the stores I will take a quick look at the Samsung Smartwatch if it's released on September 4th. The colour screen and phone dialing ability of the SW2 is too attractive to give up. I don't care about the extra battery life. I take my watch off every day anyways so plugging it in won't be so difficult. I'm looking forward to responding to Talk Mobile from the Android site this week. Tablets rule so bye bye BlackBerry. At least for now.

JFetch says:

Who wears a watch in 2013?

ConTejas says:

People with class and definitely people with money.

JoeZone says:

So what does this smart watch do exactly? Sync with your devices and tells you notifications and time? Hmmm

Posted via Android Central App

Iceitic says:

Phil, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write these "From the editor's desk" pieces. They're informative, interesting and all around enjoyable. Please don't become too busy to do these! Thank you :-)

Posted via Android Central App

anonymous-x says:

OK here goes, so many phones I've owned, I'm waiting for the Sony. So there.

sunburned says:

Watches are usually a high fashion statement. The statement the Pebble makes is "I'm a geek" haha.

rexxman says:

".. cable boxes are quick and easy clocks .."

The new cable boxes distributed by Comcast in Minneapolis no longer display the time! I wrote to Comcast expressing my concern and no response. A pity they took this away. They could have made the clock display and option in the settings. Or how about, get buyin from the customer before a change like this is implemented.

icu says:

In my opinion the Moto X was 1 decent camera away from really being a game changer. Why Moto can't figure out the phone camera is a major stumbling block. Instead of being the Tesla of phones it's the Saturn (fyi I drive a Saturn).

jaredsutter says:

I don't necessarily think blogs were acting "silly" over the N7 factory image situation. JBQ posted that he was quitting AOSP because of it. Obviously there was real drama in the situation, and I think it's disingenuous of AC to downplay the whole thing as silly and say that people just needed to have patience.

I like much of AC's reporting, but it really does come off sometimes that the company line is "All is well in Google-ville." Every time some controversy concerning Android or Google comes to light, AC's response is to say "It's not so bad, everything is OK" or just ignore it completely. It sure would be nice to see AC call out Google for their mistakes or poor policy sometimes, or point out some of Android's flaws. It would give you much more credibility.