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Pebble's place in an Android Wear world

Does a monochrome, non-Android smartwatch even have a chance anymore? We argue that Pebble indeed does.

Android Wear is the new hotness. Of that there is no doubt. Mini smartphones on our wrists, basically, running fully baked versions of Android, with a specialized user interface better suited for wearables. This is the future.

But it wasn't that long ago that we were singing the praises of Pebble, the Kickstarter darling that raised $10 million, survived the long road to release and was actually one of the larger stories at CES this past January with the release of Pebble Steel, its metal second-generation watch that gave the smartwatch a much more sophisticated look.

But we all know how quickly the seas can change in the tech industry, and today the winds blow for Android Wear.

So is there still a place for Pebble in the new Android Wear world? We think you can make a strong case for it.

Read more: Wrist First: This is Pebble

1. E-Paper display wins outdoors

LG G Watch and Pebble Steel

There's a harsh reality in the harsh summer sun — the current crop of Android Wear watches are damned near useless in direct sunlight. LCD in the G Watch or AMOLED in the Gear Live, it doesn't much matter. Both go all vampire during daylight — you just won't see them.

The monochrome mode the watches switch to for battery conservation doesn't really help with this, and that's too bad. But the entire point of a watch — never mind a smartwatch — is that you're supposed to able to see information at a glance. If you can't see that information, it's game over. Period.

2. Simplicity has its place

LG G Watch and Pebble Steel

Color displays are great, but it's easy to go too far.

Having a fully formed build of Android on your wrist is a truly awesome thing. Let us not be accused of ignoring that fact. It opens doors for developers, which in turn opens doors for those wearing the watches. And Android Wear is very much still in its infancy. It can and will change and adapt to the way we need it to look and work. But as it stands right now, it's not too difficult to accuse Android Wear of perhaps trying to do a little too much. You can pick any number of ways in which form might trump function. That's not to say that good design doesn't have its place, and the new Material Design language should help with that. But swiping and color may prove to be a bit much for some.

There's a fine line between an easy-to-use smartwatch and an overcomplicated gadget that gets in its own way. And that line is a moving target. For some, Pebble will be easier on the brain. The physical buttons allow for muscle memory and a sort of unconscious use that you can't do with touchscreens. Capacitive touch displays and need more of your attention.

3. Five days' battery life is better than one, or even two

Samsung Gear Live battery life

We're currently only getting about a day's use — and we're not always talking a full 24 hours — out of the G Watch or Gear Live. (A pre-release software update might have stretched things a little, or it might be placebo. We'll see.) Pebble and Pebble Steel at least triple that, and stretching things to five days isn't out of the question.

And neither the Pebbles nor the Android Wear watches use a standard charger — each has a proprietary system. You have to have the right charger with you. If not, you won't be topping off when you have a few free minutes.

4. More stylish out of the box

Android Wear and Pebble Steel

Rubber straps have no place on a sophisticated smartwatch.

This one's a bit subjective, but we'll stand by it. Pebble Steel looks better out of the box than the LG G Watch or (to a lesser extent, perhaps) the Samsung Gear Live. Some of that has to do with the watch face itself. Steel is cooler than plastic. Pebble Steel has a more industrial look to it, at least putting it somewhere in the ballpark of more traditional timepieces.

And a lot of it has to do with the included straps. We don't yet know what Moto 360 will ship with, but we've seen it with leather and steel links. Pebble Steel ships with both of those if you get it directly from Pebble. Either option looks better than the rubber straps that come with the G Watch and Gear Live. Of this there should be no argument.

You can change the straps on the G Watch and Gear Live, sure. And that's an option you certainly should consider.

5. Cross-platform is a good thing

Pebble and Apple

Pebble works with Android and iOS. (And BlackBerry, too, if you're feeling saucy.)

Android Wear is Android-only, of course. Cross-platform for accessories is a good thing. Will Google bring Android Wear to iOS as it's done with many of its mobile apps? We'll have to see. We don't blame Google for launching on Android. But we'd love to see what might happen if it was paired alongside an Apple device.

6. Navigation actually is easier on Pebble

For as good as Google Maps is, it's only as good as the display it's on. And for that reason, navigation through a third-party app using Google Maps actually is better on Pebble than it is Android Wear. If you have to fight to see where the next turn is, if it takes more than a single glance, then it's not working. Android Wear still has some room to improve in that department.

First there's the sun factor. If you can't see what's on the screen, nothing else matters. Then there's the simple ease of use. Using Nav Me with Pebble (again, a third-party app) you get less design but easier-to-digest information — especially because Android Wear tends to kick back over to the minimized card pretty quickly.

(We'd also increase the vibration at each waypoint.)

7. Retail availability should not be downplayed

That you can buy a Pebble or Pebble Steel in a retail store is a big deal. (In the U.S., Target and Best Buy are among the two largest, and AT&T stores carry it as well.) LG announced intentions for the G Watch to be in retail stores in 27 markets, including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Russia. The Gear Live will be available in Samsung retail stores. (Not quite the same thing, but better than nothing.)

Again, there's plenty of time for Android Wear to go the brick-and-mortar route, and it absolutely must do so, especially if and when Apple brings a wearable to the table. But for now, Pebble wins that round, too.

Don't sound the death knell just yet

Pebble Steel and LG G Watch

The smartwatch space isn't yet owned by anyone. That's in part because smartwatches are still niche, nerdy products, a result as much because of their physical design as the software running on them. For as well as Pebble's done, you'll be hard pressed to see them in public in any real numbers.

And Android Wear is a baby. The first two specimens — the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live — are, for all intents and purposes, the generic black slab of smartwatches. Maybe the circular Moto 360 will change that. Maybe it won't. Time will tell.

For now, Pebble is still very much a viable product. And it's a stylish, viable product if you go with Pebble Steel. But there's definitely a new player in town, and Pebble's going to have to up its game if it wants to continue to compete.

  • I like this article. This is why I may get a Pebble if the Moto 360 ain't all what it is cracked up to be. That battery life may be the tipping point for me. Posted via Droid Razr M on the Android Central App
  • I really liked my Pebble until I broke it. Though I must admit now not having it I realized I don't really need a smartwatch in my life. ಠ益ಠ
  • There's definitely very little need for a smartwatch, yet I have/use a Pebble and can say that it has streamlined the smartphone process for me. Can I live without it? Sure. Would I want to? No.
  • The Android Wear experience, by the end of this year, will be far greater and useful than that of the Pebble or any other smartwatch we have had experience with.
  • Not in terms of battery life or sunlight readability.
  • "The Android Wear experience, by the end of this year, will be far greater and useful than that of the Pebble or any other smartwatch we have had experience with." Posted it again. No mention of battery life or sunlight or even a particular watch, for that matter. Mentioned the Android Wear experience.
  • I don't get how posting it again is a rebuttal; he proved your statement false and you still weren't able to show how he was wrong. Battery life and readability in direct sunlight are definitely part of the experience, and Pebble has Android Wear beat soundly in both instances. I don't forsee Android Wear beating Pebble in that regard by the end of the year either. That being said, I'm sure at some point the other features of Android Wear will eventually be more desirable than the better readability or battery life of Pebble.
  • I see you're just as slow as he is, so let me break it down again. The KEY WORD you used was PART. That's it: those 2 things are just 2 PARTS of the experience, NOT THE EXPERIENCE. I had an LG Feature phone in 2004 that had better battery life and took better pictures in the dark than my current smartphone. Do you think my Experience on that Feature phone was richer than it is on my current smartphone, because of those 2 features? The answer would be NO. As my smart phone is a far more feature filled and versatile device. Just as Android Wear devices (particularly by year's end, as I originally stated) are far more feature filled and versatile than the Pebble. Heck, even the iPhone has a pretty bad battery life compared to some other devices. Do you think the experience on an iPhone is worse than that of a low end prepaid phone? No one proved anything false of what I said. And that's fact. Not opinion.
  • Don't waste your time NexusMan, clearly you are talking to 'specials'.
  • My opinion is that MOST of you don't own a Pebble and your opinions are the same as my opinions on walking on the moon (I never have). I also think that MOST wont buy Android wear and the few that do, theirs will end up in a drawer at the house after a week or two due to poor battery life.
  • The level of capabilities and functionality has zero to do with opinion. It is fact. You're moon analogy is weak. I happen to be a fan of Pebble, that does not change the fact that it is limited in what it can do, compared to Android Wear devices. That's a FACT. I loved my LG Feature phone from 2005 (not a joke) and think it takes better pictures than my current phone in 2014, however, it doesn't change the fact that on a whole, my Android experience is better, ie., more robust, more feature packed and capable on my current phone, than it is on that feature phone. Has ZERO to do with opinion.
  • My Pebble is most useful to me in my role as a student; I don't have to take out my phone in the middle of class to see why my phone is buzzing.
  • I think the price needs to lower to compete more with android wear. Pebble is a little on the high end especially for the steel
  • Asus's Wear watch is going to be under $150. It's going to be hard to compete with that.
  • That's the rumour at least, if it's true I'll probably get one. Hopefully it'll come in at the £99 mark. Personally I couldn't rationalise spending $250 on a pebble steel when a gear live is $199. And pebbles are hard work to get hold of in the UK, eBay is probably the best way. Posted via Android Central App
  • I wish/hope pebble increases the resolution of the display. If it had the resolution of my Kindle (212 ppi), the watch faces would look much better.
  • I agree. And I'd also (and I can't believe I'm going to be one of those people now), I'd really like to see them cut down the size of the bezels. That much black plastic on the face of the watch makes it look a little too toy-like for my taste. I really like my Pebble, and I wear it a lot, but I leave it at home when I go on dates, you know?
  • I sold my original Pebble for about $60 last week in anticipation of ANdroid Wear, but I keep thinking I should wait for 2nd gen watches.
  • I already know I'm getting 1st and 2nd gen. Unlike a phone, this is the 1st tech I will buy that is also a fashion accessory. It is perfectly reasonable and common for me to buy a new watch every year, if I spot one I like.
  • Absolutely. And the fact that it's also a fashion accessory is why it's so important that these things have standard sized, swappable bands. I don't see myself owning more than one smartwatch at a time, but I would definitely switch the band on it to match my outfit.
  • I agree that a swappable band is a must if the included band is not great, but I'm not one to swap bands like that. Too time consuming. I would, however, like to have both a dressier and a casual smartwatch at the same time. The Moto 360 will be my dressy...still waiting for my casual to be announced. Sadly, it hasn't been yet.
  • I hope pebble keeps the competition stiff. Would love to own a smart watch at some point, preferably an android wear one, but I think it'd be good to wait it out a bit. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey Phil, where did you get that black metal band for the G watch?
  • Posted via Android Central App
  • So far the Pebble looks better with sun. Posted via Android Central App
  • Is it really that hard to see the screen in sunlight? Or is it just hard to see like a phone screen? When you say it goes into vampire mode I literally have this vision in my head that it is totally unusable.
  • Good. That sentence got my point across. Posted via Android Central App
  • Uh oh.... Now I'm really questioning my decision to pre-order a Gear Live. I expected some readability issues outdoors, but not a blank display (essentially). At least I did keep my Pebble...... Posted via Android Central App
  • I wonder if I can convince best buy to let me take one outside to test it.
  • Yeah, one of the reasons I'm considering waiting for early 2015 2nd gen watches...wonder if the screens will be improved enough. Posted via Android Central App
  • Phil, you forgot one major disadvantage of the Pebble vs. Android Wear: Pebble is iOS centric. Yes, the Pebble supports Android, but it does not support it very well compared to iOS. Firmware v. 2 was on iOS several months before it came to Android. Many of the popular Pebble apps have this lag problem as well. And at least for me, the Pebble Android app is buggy as hell. Android Wear is less than a month on the market and it already kills the Pebble when it comes to Android support, not to mention features and price value. All of this adds up to an Android Wear watch in my future...Pebble got me into the smartwatch arena, but I can't wait to see it in my rear view mirror.
  • I completely disagree that Pebble is iOS-centric. Posted via Android Central App
  • How? The Android app is still in beta, regardless of what the Pebble devs might say. I myself have used my Pebble on both my iPhone 5s and my newer Nexus 5. I WISH the Pebble worked half as well on my Nexus as it did on my iPhone. Notifications are gimped on Android, as opposed to almost everything working right out of the box on iOS. Yes, I realize that there are apps such as Pebble Notifier that solve this but, even that app is still buggy. (People, including myself, complain of duplicate messages, nonstop vibrations, etc.) Bluetooth connectivity issues plague Android users, and so on. There is native support on iOS. The devs, if I recall correctly, have stated that it is easier to code their app on iOS. Being multi-platform is not always an advantage, as it comes with necessity for your development company to have coders on both sides, working equally.
  • I have to completely agree. Having a Kickstarter Edition of Pebble... one of the first to dive into the pool.... I find that notifications don't work as well on Android as on iOS. I have used the same Pebble (completely updated) on both and it simply doesn't work as well on Android. I found that I have to install 3rd party apps to get it to work properly.
    The other issue I have is, in my opinion, the resin Pebble I have is not as classy looking as either the Samsung or LG watches. Frankly, it looks a bit cheap. I simply can't wear it to work as it just doesn't look right with either a suit or dress casual.
    But the bottom line for me is the hassle of having to use 3rd party apps to get the Pebble to work properly on Android. They should have come out with one version for each OS and concentrated a team of developers for each. Remember the saying, "A jack of all trades, master of none". Enough said.....
  • The only feature that I can think of that iOS has is actually accepting a call... Which doesn't really matter since there's no microphone. Posted via my Nexus 5 in the Android Central App
  • What? Androiid always had more features for pebble before iOS. iOS couldn't do much until 7. Also you can answer calls with Android. Also there is a 3rd app to let you make calls. Which I live and use everyday in the car with Bluetooth. The pebble is here to stay and will have its place for a long time to come. Plus I think Pebble is what started it all and made smartwatches a market.
  • I love the Pebble with Android, it's just out of the box, it does like 2% more on iOS. Posted via my Nexus 5 in the Android Central App
  • Pebble steel was second gen? I thought it was purely aesthetic? Posted via Android Central App
  • Second gen hardware. Software stayed the same if I recall correctly.
  • I believe Pebble called it second generation even though it was just an aesthetic change. The internal hardware and the software were the same.
  • Pebble is obsolete now that Android Wear is here. And the iWatch will finish Pebble off into its grave. Posted via Android Central App
  • Don't be so sure. Pebble still has its applications. ಠ益ಠ
  • Yeah I totally love charging yet ANOTHER device besides my smartphone and tablet everyday Posted via Android Central App on Google Nexus 7 2013
  • I love my Pebble. Have no desire to jump to Android Wear. We will see what's happening next year in the Android Wear space before I dump my Pebble. Posted via AC App from my S4 mini WITH an LED CrackLight ;-)
  • I don't think I'd mind charging every night since I'm already doing it with my phone. But if you can't see the display outdoors in full sunlight, that could be a deal breaker. I have a golf GPS app that I use paired with my Pebble to get yardages and the display on my Pebble is very easy to see on the golf course. Also, I like the look of the Moto 360, but afraid it might be too massive to be wearing on my wrist while golfing.
  • Charging the small battery in the smart watches every night is completely different than charging your phone every night. The battery in the watch would give out and need replacing faster considering it would need to be charged more. Posted via Android Central App
  • I think they should really jump on the Android Wear bandwagon before its too late. Posted with my Nexus 7 2012 or Moto X via the Android Central App
  • How about screen protectors for these tiny screens? Is anyone making them? Some screen protectors help with the sunlight issue. But the sunlight issue and the battery life ussue is why I am holding off on buying a smartwatch. Posted via Android Central App
  • There are screen protectors for the Pebble and for the Samsung Gear line. So there should no doubt be screen protectors for Android Wear. Posted via Android Central App
  • Just go to TJ Maxx and pick up a heavily discounted invisible shield for, say, an old phone like the Galaxy S or whatever. Cut to fit the face of your new watch. You don't need one specifically designed for the watch (which incidentally will cost much more).
  • Good article. >"And neither the Pebbles nor the Android Wear watches use a standard charger — each has a proprietary system. You have to have the right charger with you. If not, you won't be topping off when you have a few free minutes." That statement will likely be negated quickly with the 360, if it really does use QI charging. Then not only would it be non-proprietary, it will also be very convenient. And I am not sure anyone would "top off" a watch for a "few minutes". Possible, but unlikely. Pebble really is right on the verge of being obsolete already. About the only real advantage it will have over what is out for Android Wear and what is about to be out, is the e-ink display which allows it to be "on" all the time, visible in bright light, and have a long battery life. But for that you trade being mono, being slow, and being ugly. One interesting question would be- will Android Wear support a mono and/or e-ink display? Wouldn't it be cool if there could be a hybrid display that was both e-ink AND LCD or LED? (Until a fast, color e-ink is developed)
  • Qi charging is just as proprietary as the other two. You would still have to have it with you. Posted via Android Central App
  • Incorrect. QI charging is a hard, well-defined, world standard. A QI device with work with any QI charger. It is absolutely not proprietary in any way. As for having it with you... what is to say you would have a non-proprietary cable with you either? What is to say where you might be going doesn't have a QI charger, too? Unless you brought it with you, it is extremely unlikely anyplace other than "home" would have a cable that will work with a Pebble an LG watch and/or a Samsung watch. And although it isn't likely they would have a QI charger around either, the odds are still probably orders of magnitude higher than a proprietary watch cable...
  • symantics, both are a pain .however i dont need my pebble cable since my battery is good for a week. If i really want a small cable is easier to pack than a wireless base. probably cheaper to buy extra as well.
  • $5.99 for the extra cable on amazon, not OEM but still works great.
  • Best part would be that you would have a more compact Qi charger when traveling to top off the watch and then charge your phone overnight. Qi is a great move on Moto's part. Opinions of this user may be biased due to being one of those Nexus people.
  • Wrong...$5.99 for the Pebble cable on amazon...small and easy to transport...nice try though...
  • Nothing I said, above is "wrong", you are making an argument that doesn't address anything I said. I am talking about going to work, a friend's or family member's house, a hotel.... obviously not about where to buy accessories. Having a few places you can special order accessories doesn't help you when you are out and about and didn't bring a rare and proprietary cable with you.
  • I will take "being mono, being slow, and being ugly".....OH and a weeks battery life! (clearly you don't own a pebble because its none of the things you mentioned...ugly? the comments below...most say you are wrong)
  • And yet again you are making an argument that doesn't address anything I said. I said the *SCREEN* is mono, slow, and ugly... and it certainly is when you compare it to a color LCD or LED screen. The Pebble watch itself is quite attractive.
  • I believe a color e-ink type display is called Mirasol by Qualcomm as in the Qualcomm Taq.
  • Pebble should make an Android Wear watch with e-ink display.
  • I just posted that posit, above : "One interesting question would be- will Android Wear support a mono and/or e-ink display? Wouldn't it be cool if there could be a hybrid display that was both e-ink AND LCD or LED? (Until a fast, color e-ink is developed)"
  • We touched on that in this week's podcast. Posted via Android Central App
  • You should give a spoiler to those of us too lazy... I mean "busy"... to check out the podcast :)
  • LOL. I don't think Google would allow that.
  • Is this possibly the most honest review of an Adroid Wear watch yet? It's good to see and so rare from tech journalists who seem incapable of writing interesting and honest reviews.
  • Pebble = Palm Treo in 2007
    Android Wear = iPhone in 2007 i know how the movie ends.
  • And
    You = IQ < 30
  • Both the G watch and gear live will be available at Best Buy on the 8th. It says so on best buy's website.
  • I think Pebble still has a place but the Pebble Steel at $249 feels horribly overpriced now. Posted via Android Central App (Moto X)
  • +1. Especially if the 360 comes in at the the same price or 300 ballpark (which probably seems unlikely). But Yea I see pebble dropping prices within the next few months for sure.
  • The Pebble Steel, while I don't own it (but really wanted it for a time), easily looks the best out of every option pictured in this article. The Steel link band on the LG makes a huge improvement...UNTIL you get back to that face, which just messes it up again. I really wanted to buy a white G watch as a casual option, but I simply will not wear an unattractive watch on my wrist: smart or dumb. Sadly, I long decided I won't be getting the Pebble Steel anymore either, as I will be purchasing the Moto 360, day one. The Pebble Steel and Moto 360 are the best looking of the smartwatch a longshot.
  • Totally agree with this article. I love my Pebble and nothing I've seen about Wear makes me anxious to get one. The only real feature it has over Pebble is the voice stuff. Another advantage of the original pebble vs android wear or even vs the pebble steel is the plastic screen. Being on my wrist, my pebble gets smashed into doorknobs, desks, car doors, etc all the time. The plastic face is covered in tiny scratches. Having broken two phone screens in the last year (both of which had gorilla glass, I am seriously hesitant to have a glass watch. I just don't trust it to stand up to daily life.
  • Glass watch faces are usually much much tougher than smartphone screens, at least on the $100-200 watches I've had. I've got a couple with minor scratches and even one with two small gouges (no clue what did it, almost like a tiny vampire bit it) but the glass on them is still structurally sound and it's obvious it's much thicker than the pane on a display. I wouldn't be surprised if a regular watch's glass face held up better than plastic... No clue about these smartwatches tho, haven't held one yet. If it's just standard Gorilla Glass you probably have a point, specially as the glass on all models seems awfully exposed with no crown like most regular watches.
  • i really like android wear but i cant give up my always on screen and if battery doesn't even last the whole day that just wont cut it. i wouldn't mind charging nightly but it has to at least give me a long day.
  • Android Wear is for those like me that check on Google Now repeatedly during the day. Having and actual efficient Google Now device is what cuts the deal for me.
    I keep checking for weather, time back home and while traveling, sports, interests, news... it's been piling up all my news interests better than other 'intuitive' apps like Flipboard.
    I think the battery hit is expected for such functionality and of course, the display has still to improve, but I must see it before I pass judgement. If it's like my Nexus 5, legibility-wise, I'm sold!
  • Picture #1 says it all for me. The Pebble really shines in a sunny environment, and doesn't the Steel look classy compared to those plastic straps? The Pebble gives me all I really need of a smartphone for now, namely notifications of emails that I can check at a glance. That, plus 9-10 days between charges (I shut it down while sleeping) is enough to keep me happy. Long term,though, Pebble will have to find a way to accommodate Google Wear , increase screen resolution, while maintaining battery life to survive and flourish. I'm not concerned about color, and I prefer not to have an illuminated screen
  • I don't get the lack of hardware buttons with google wear. Every digital watch and most analog watches have several buttons. Not everything functions better with a touchscreen as Phil points out. Also the screen being unreadable in sunlight is ridiculous. Wear is supposed to make life more convienent. If you are out doing yard work or any outdoor activity the great thing about a smart watch is the ability to check your notifications without having to grab your phone. If you can't even see the notification what the hell is the point.
  • Google Wear doesn't dictate no hardware buttons. You will note the upcoming Moto 360 has a hardware button. (I don't really know what the "rules" are- like how many buttons can be present or what they can or can't do, but the fact that one Wear device will have a button shoots down the "no buttons allowed" thought).
  • "Buttons" plural. A button to activate the screen is worthless which is what the gear live appears to have. Haven't seen anything to indicate the 360 button is any different.
  • Its the 20th century I must have a color screen! Posted via Android Central App
  • That you cant see well in bright thanks.
  • I don't know what year you are living in, but I'm sure most of us here live in the 21st century. ;) Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm so torn... I love my pebble steel but I'm really in love with the moto 360. Posted via Android Central App
  • Sell me the Steel when you get the 360 if you like it better. Posted via Android Central App
  • Why cant we have both...I will.
  • Makes me wonder if Moto is reading reviews like this and making last minute tweaks. Maybe that's why they let the other two go first to see what problems people are having with them. If the 360 has good outdoor visibility and can manage a few days of battery life they might just curbstomp the competition.
  • I don't see why Pebble cannot adopt Android Wear as well. They can keep their monochrome models and also have an Android wear model. Do they really care as long as they are selling watches?
  • Maybe being more "blingy" is not their focus or the focus of their target market. I like my Pebble and don't need it to be a conversation piece.
  • Blingy? I think the Pebble matches that description better! Posted via Android Central App
  • They're gonna have to do more to differentiate, their current advantages aren't sustainable, but becoming just another OEM that tries to compete with huge challengers like Samsung and LG isn't it. They could aim for lower price points, tho that isn't entirely sustainable either.
  • Toq display is completely underrated. Period IMO. Posted via Android Central App
  • I thought I'd jump ship to android wear as soon as I could get my hands on it, but now I'm gonna take a beat and see how the 360 and probably longer to see how 2nd gen shapes up. There are three features from Pebble that would be hard to give up. First, is visibility in sunlight. Days like today when I'm lying on the beach listening to tunes and controlling Pandora and being able to peek at the artist playing without fumbling for my phone safely tucked away from the sand and water. Also taking a dip, and glancing at the time to realize I'm minutes from meeting friends. Another killer feature in my opinion are the physical buttons. I am constantly working with both hands, listening to podcasts with my Bluetooth headphones and skipping back 10 seconds to re-hear something I missed or skipping ahead 30 seconds to speed up a commercial without looking down at anything. It's not interrupting my work flow by digging around for my phone, unlocking it, looking for the podcast controls etc. Without those physical buttons on a android wear watch I'd need to take my eyes off what I'm doing, and swipe around to fast fwd or rewind. Third is battery life. I actually do charge my Pebble every night when I sleep at home, but from time to time I find myself either on the road or sleeping elsewhere and it is so nice to not sweat having my Pebble charger with me for a few days. It would suck to have an unplanned night away from home and then be stuck without a watch the next day because of it. The one feature I would really love to have is voice control. Having a mic on my wrist makes a lot of sense for that. When I'm in my car and my phone is mounted on my dash Google voice has trouble understanding me through the whirl of car noise and ac fans. If the mic was on my wrist and next to my mouth I'm sure that would be a much more pleasant experience. For now I'm sticking with Pebble, and if next gen Pebble adds Google voice control I might even go another round with them. BTW has any one else experienced rock solid Pebble performance with the latest updates. It's like it knew it was close to the chopping block and it's so been on best behavior... Posted via Android Central App
  • You said "BTW has any one else experienced rock solid Pebble performance with the latest updates. It's like it knew it was close to the chopping block and it's so been on best behavior..." The Pebble IS NOT the Ogdroid and has only been out a relatively short time. We should expect cleaner firmware to continue to roll out as the watch matures. Do you hold Google accountable for gingerbread and believe they should have started it all with the L variant? SMH...
  • 1) Absolutely true
    2) So, you're saying devs/user MIGHT screw it up and make it too complicated, so fewer options is better? WTF? Isn't that supposed to be Apple's line? Are you hiding an iMore tattoo somewhere?
    3) Absolutely true
    4) You're ready for this to go away completely when the 360 ships, right?
    5) Absolutely true
    6) You're repeating yourself. This is either a repeat of #1 or #2 depending on how you read it.
    7) If you're excited about Pebble being available at BestBuy and Target, then why aren't you excited about the Samsung Gear 2 being available at BestBuy and Target? ...and Walmart when it doesn't sell out? ...and Fry's which is a big deal if you're not on the east coast? ...and T-Mobile stores owned by T-Mobile?
  • we need competition and innovation from Apple iWatch. i'm excited to see Android Wear 2.0.
  • My Pebble does most of what I need. I can see my messages and emails without taking out my phone - especially nice when bike riding or when my phone is across the room. Also, my red pebble with a custom watch band is pure kitsch. I don't know how many people have admired it. LCD/Android watches will have to add some real game changing features to make me give up my Pebble. I charge my Pebble when I take a shower, so it also encourages personal hygiene.
  • Advertising a product for the company you work for, even though you have that god-awful named wearable domain....class act, man -.-
  • I love the Pebble Steel style Posted via Android Central App
  • Man, the pebble in this picture looks a whole lot nicer than the android wear stuff. Much classier looking. Posted via Android Central App
  • Pebble mail notification does need some better granularity, I think. It was mentioned in the podcast yesterday, and I'm experiencing the same problem, that everything in the Inbox creates a Notification to the Pebble, including items that were tabbed into the Social, Promotions and Forums sub-areas. It would really be nice to be able to select the groups individually, especially to avoid the Promotional emails from being presented on the watch.
  • This can be easily fixed by a future firmware update. Technically everything you listed is "email" to Google and what you are requesting is a personal preference. So we should ditch the Pebble because it doesn't FILTER email to your satisfaction?....I think not. Congrats on using the word of the day though (Granularity)....I bet it made you feel smart huh?
  • I really like my Pebble Steel and I use it every day. I do think it can be improved, though, and my comment was intended as constructive feedback. I have no intention of ditching the Steel, by the way. I think the word granularity was used during the podcast to describe this issue, and it seemed right to me. Using it didn't make me feel any smarter, or dumber. Cheers.
  • Pebble needs to hurry up and get on the Android bandwagon. Otherwise, regardless of Phil's love letter, they will become the blackberries and the HTCies. Posted via Android Central App- Via HTC One
  • The point of Phil's article is "Android wear may be shiny and pretty, but it doesn't do any more or better than the Pebble". I would expect your comment since you are a member of the "flavor of the month phone club". I bet that HTC one doesn't stick around as long as my N1 did or my N5 will.
  • Your insult just proves my point. Android Wear is in for the long haul, while the Pebble is a "flavor of the month smartwatch," which is not even that smart. Boutique manufacturers never make it big, HTC being the point. The Pebble being a boutique manufacturer will struggle to survive, while android wear will quickly improve and surpass the Pebble. It has the full might of Google and several manufacturers with highly diversified products portfolio which enables them to quickly mature their technology. Looks at Samsung. Within the last 10 months they have released 3 smartwatches, while Pebble is still struggling with their app store. All this is irregardless of my personal choice of phone, Android is not a flavor of the month, but the forked version are. Pebble is one of them. So in essence you criticize me for choosing a "flavor of the month" phone while defending a product which is the embodiment of the term "flåvör öf ze mōnth." Posted via Android Central App- Via HTC One
  • Android central writers make me laugh...every time we see a new tech, they have a Pavlovian response and say "the Nexus is dead"....and yet its not. I like my Pebble, will continue to wear it, and if I wanted magazines and blogs to make my tech decisions for me, I would be an Apple fan boy.
  • I'm pretty sure the point of this article is that Pebble isn't dead, but hey, don't let facts get in the way of your laughter. hahaha Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra
  • I love my pebble. It does the basics well and days of battery life. Posted via Android Central App
  • #1 - good point.
    #2 - Completely disagree. "But swiping and color may prove to be a bit much for some" - if you just wanted to see the time you'd get a regular watch. If you want a smartwatch, you want notifications, somo sort of integration with your phone. For that you're going to need a structured way to interact with the device. I don't understand how swiping (and color!!!) might be "too much". Many smartwatches have "too much" - I've seen some on Kickstarter with things like virtual keyboards on that tiny screen!! But swiping and color _is not_ "too much".
    #3 - good point
    #4 - ok point - and then there's the 360.
    #5 - I don't particularly care, though I suppose Google will be adding iOS support in the coming versions. I mean, el goog makes a lot of apps for iOS. I don't see why they wouldn't make Wear available.
    #6 - I can't agree based solely on those screenshots, but by your description it seems the entire experience is somewhat flawed; what a bummer.
    #7 - Yeah, then there's that. But maybe that will change with market adherence.
  • Great article Phil! I agree with all your points. I love android wear but I love everything my pebble does and how well it does those things. Posted via Android Central App
  • All of Pebble's perceived strengths - sound the same as the perceived strengths of Blackberry and Nokia's Symbian, before the onslaught of iOS and Android.......
  • " Time will tell." Pun intended? Posted via Android Central App
  • A pebbles is pretty much the same price as the android wear devices. I might as well go with Android wear Posted via Android Central App
  • the big difference is that pebble releases for ipones first and then releases buggy garbage for android a month or two later. it still lags horribly when browsing watch faces. i have had my pebble since xmas. it really is pretty cool. the biggest asset is the epaper display. it is great.
    i would love to see an epaper android wear. **also my pebble barely gets over 2 days on a charge. this is totally fine as i ihave a charge and just plug it in overnight. this article is slightly flawed when comparing battery life on the two
  • Is hardware the only difference with the different Android Wear models? Or are there skins with the UI?
  • One other thing that the Pebble has going for it that the other two do not, and was not mentioned is that the Pebble is waterproof and the other two are (barely) water resistant.
    I don't know about other people but my watches get dunked on a regular basis. I don't want to be continually remembering to take off my watch every time I get near water.
  • Mine is the shower everyday with me and just spent most of the weekend on my wrist in the pool. I have the original and Im not really a fan of the look of the steel. Have been looking at the Gear Live and the Gear 2( Since it work integrate with my s5 really well)tho.
  • I had a pebble, loved the pebble. They dicked me around with both the kickstart process, and when I sold my original to get the steel, so I cancelled my order and have not had a pebble since. Honestly I loved the watch, but did not love my order getting bumped numerous time to see to the targets, best buys, etc of the world. Pebble is perfectly simple, and is to me a great product. It doesnt replace your phone, but it extends it perfectly .
  • No one mentioned size...I find my Pebble to borderline on the larger side of watches I'd want to wear, and seeing the comparison of the 2 on someones wrist above make me think the Wear watches are just too damn big.
  • Great article. Thanks. Posted via Android Central App
  • I was a big fan of the Pebble when it was being kickstarted and almost put down $ for it then, but now it looks seriously dated. I'd still consider one as a travel and knockaround smart watch if the price was right though.
  • Well done Phil. I never thought of the Pebble like this before. I think I'm in the Pebble camp as well of the 360 isn't what I hope it will be. The Pebble Steel looks nice. Posted via Android Central App
  • Weather, Temp.,Time(always correct), date at all times at a glance! Love my Pebble!
  • Had to go to a wedding today. I left the G Watch at home because the Steel just looks better with a tie and slacks.