I’ve been on a bit of a futurism kick lately, and now that my Pebble is here, I’m kind of a step closer to that. I contributed to their KickStarter back in last March, and after a year of waiting (and some delays, as it was supposed to be shipped in September) it’s finally in my hands. I’ve only really kicked to things that I can get digitally; to have something that went into production and is now a real product is kind of cool.
After a couple days, I’ve had a chance to full integrate the Pebble into my life. At its core, it’s a smartwatch that works with iOS and Android, funelling notifications from your phone or tablet from your wrist. You sync it with an app, and you’ll get Caller ID, text messages, tweets and e-mails sent with an accompanying vibration, which you can dismiss at a button press. You can also control your music, install different watchfaces and set an independent alarm which does a pretty good job of waking you up in the morning.
Its battery lasts for two weeks, and can be charged with an included USB cable that plugs into any iDevice or compatible wall charger; I found that I haven’t had any problems with it yet, but I’ve heard reports of peoples’ Pebbles burning out after a couple days. Whether you enable the backlight or not also plays a part in how long it lasts, but I find that the screen looks great without it.
But the question remains: how does it affect my day-to-day?
After spending a couple days with Pebble, I can definitely say the experience has been a bit jarring. While it’s nothing like Google Glass inevitably will be, it’s nice having to skip the tedium of taking out my phone in order to see what a notification is. It’s also nice to be able to leave my phone on my desk and just take distractions as they come. I can even leave it face down and not risk getting sidetracked with responding to a tweet or e-mail.
Obviously, this speaks more to my ability to keep focused rather than the Pebble itself, but I find that it’s a great disconnect from constantly looking at my phone. If I’m out and my wrist vibrates, I can give it a glace, shoo the notification away, and keep going. Being able to change my music while biking or while across the room is an added bonus, as it skips me needing other remotes to do so. Of course, it tells the time well enough, but the Pebble is an added convenience that I’m not used to having.
It also makes me feel damned cool to be part of the future. I know it’s not in a big way (hell, no video calls yet), but it’s nice to see wearable computing graduating from something cumbersome to something a little more sexy. I could use another watchband for it, because this one is kind of mundane, but that’s more of just a desire for variety; this will also be exacerbated when the SDK is released and people will be able to build more watchfaces and apps to download to the watch.
For now, though, I’m content in integrating Pebble into my life slowly, but surely. Not as a way to distance myself more from being social, but as a way to keep things organized and sequestered. If you can see a way of doing things better, why not seize it? I’d rather do that and have the chance to make my life more awesome than cling to an “old way” that doesn’t work as well.