Apple Killer? $100 Smart-Watch That Does It All

Activity tracking, real-time notifications, streaming music, even a hackable ‘magic button’ have the latest release from smartwatch maker Pebble on track to set (another) Kickstarter record.

pebble stuff

In two days, Pebble has amassed over $7 million for its three latest offerings – and there’s still over a month to go!

The Pebble 2 and Time 2 are updates on the company’s first two water resistant smartwatch releases, with a few new features rolled into the same price range ($99 and up).

The timepieces now come equipped with a heart-rate monitor, activity tracker (distance, steps, etc.), available 10-day battery life (Time 2 only), and a built-in microphone for sending audio or text memos.

Pebble Core: Device For Runners

The most notable addition to the pebble family, however, is the Core. Effectively a dressed-down phone replacement for runners or adventure seekers, the Core is a clip on button capable of streaming music and interfacing with fitness apps on the go.

The wearable requires a 3G connection and carrier SD card (not included), but will play offline music and hold activity info until you reach a WiFi connection.

The obvious alternatives to Pebble’s astoundingly successful smartwatches are Fitbit and the Apple Watch, but Pebble has them both beat on price. The Pebble 2, which has some additional features compared with the Fitbit and Apple Watch (built-in microphone and swim-friendly water resistance respectively), will retail at $100, about half the cost of a Fitbit and the equivalent of a down payment on an Apple product.

It’s a combination of the Pebble’s base price and open-source hackability that set it apart. Its products can be tweaked and massaged to meet the wants of a user, so long as they’re comfortable with a bit of code (the Pebble site offers guides for adventurous tinkerers).

Massive crowdfunding is nothing new for Pebble; its first Kickstarter in 2012 became the first campaign to hit $10 million. Its second release was the first to reach $20 million. The current campaign, which seems to hinge most on the perceived popularity of the Core, has topped $7 million in two days – putting it on a pace to reach $100 million (though we expect the dollars to slow down in the coming weeks).

Earlier versions of Pebble’s smartwatch have been extremely popular on Kickstarter

For $129 – $99 for early-bird buy-ins – the Pebble 2 looks like a durable, hands-free, smart device for active people. The Time 2 has longer battery life (10 days versus three), and a color display for $30 more. The bare bones Core – a wild card in Pebble’s tried and true smartwatch line – will retail at $99 after early bird $69 buy-ins run out.

Learn more, or buy now, on Kickstarter.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing.

Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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