Pebble founder eyes comeback with the small Android phone of our dreams

A photo of an Android phone in hand
(Image credit: Small Android Phone)

What you need to know

  • A conversation held with members of Pebble who've created "The Small Android Phone Project" sheds like on their proposed small device.
  • The team is interested in bringing a premium feel to their small device with a sub six-inch display, 50MP main sensor, and a soft-to-the-touch phone body.
  • The small Android device could contain a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or a mid-level Qualcomm chip that has "yet to be released."

Pebble could be making a comeback, but not as what the brand was previously known for. According to The Verge, the community project known as Small Android Phone, led by Eric Migicovsky, founder of Pebble Smartwatch, could be making a return with its own compact smartphone.

The new phone would play quite heavily off the feel of the now sunset iPhone Mini; the device would (ideally) feature a stock Android OS. There are those who love the look and feel of a smaller Android phone, but a member of the Small Android Phone team, Benjamin Bryant, told The Verge they're interested in a sub-six-inch smartphone display.

Size comparison of two Pixel phones and an iPhone 13 Mini

(Image credit: Small Android Phone)

Another one of the members, Alex De Stasio, chimed in during the call to talk about his thought process behind the back camera array stating that its design "has a huge impact on the visual icon of the phone, so I wanted to spend some extra time on it to make sure it’s very uniquely recognizable and very iconic."

From the images, some give off Nexus vibes, while others harken a bit to the Nothing Phone (1) with the addition of LEDs.

A member of the Small Android Phone team's designs for the potential camera array.

(Image credit: The Small Android Phone Project)

A great set of cameras is one of the Small Android Phone team's objectives, and they seem to be playing with a 50MP sensor. The team is also apparently trying to settle on software for the camera, which can make or break a sensor.

Getting into the potential power of this ideal small phone, the Migicovsky-led team is looking to make their phone somewhere in the realm of "premium." The group is interested in strengthening their device with at least the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or a mid-level, "yet-to-be-released" Qualcomm chip. This former flagship mobile platform launched in late 2021, so Pebble's device won't exactly be at the forefront of performance, at least for right now.

De Stasio then said the phone should be "a nice soft slab that’s very high quality, very nicely put together, very solid feeling, and that just has very soft details that feel really nice on your fingers. We’re looking to stand out with our attention to detail, not some novel use of unusual materials." 

Nothing is set in stone at this point of the brainstorming phase, although, the Small Android Phone team is interested in a metal frame with a layer of glass composite or perhaps a ceramic-coated aluminum frame.

The Small Android Phone team's visualization of phones to use as inspiration for their own device.

(Image credit: The Small Android Phone Project)

Bryant also expressed interest in the ASUS Zenfone 9 as he and his team look to craft their own. That phone was released during the latter portion of 2022 with a 5.9-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. What's more is that, if the rumors about the upcoming Pixel 8 are true, that phone could be slightly smaller with a 5.8-inch display.

The Small Android Phone team listed some other ideal specifications back in May 2022, such as the device featuring a punch-hole selfie camera, 8GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of internal storage. There was a mention of a fingerprint sensor within the power button, an IP68 water resistance rating, and wireless charging.

With all of this, the team is mulling over an $850 price tag for whenever this phone is released, which is admittedly quite high and even more than what Samsung asks for the relatively small Galaxy S23. While the price has been generalized, Bryant said the final price would "depend on a lot of factors," but Migicovsky says that consumers should pay a bit more since there are "no alternatives," listing a price range between $700 and $800.

After becoming the most funded project on Kickstarter with Pebble Time, the Small Android Phone team is looking to crowdfunding to gain $40 to $50 million to cover a wealth of expenses.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.