The world on your wrist – the Pebble

Five questions with Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky

The Pebble smartwatch has taken the industry by storm. From its historic Kickstarter funding to its launch in-store and online with Best Buy, many in the industry are looking to its innovative product and success hoping to follow in their footsteps. We asked Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder and lead designer, a few questions about the market, Bluetooth connectivity and their relationship with TI.

TI: Pebble is a Kickstarter success story having met your funding goal of $100,000 in two hours. What do you attribute that to?

Migicovsky: There were several things that contributed to Pebble’s success. Part of it was the timing – the smartwatch space was growing and people’s familiarity with smartphone-attached devices is increasing. The features and the way we approached Pebble is another reason for our success. From the very beginning we wanted backers to provide ideas and help us build-up the ecosystem around Pebble to make it more than just a smartwatch.

TI: The smartwatch market is booming, what makes Pebble stand out from the rest?

Migicovsky: Pebble is unique in that it is uniquely your watch. You customize it with a downloadable watchface and Internet-connected apps – so it is yours. The other reason is that we are looking for the community to make it better – more apps, more add-ons – the ecosystem is growing around it.

TI: There are a lot of wireless connectivity technologies on the market. Why Bluetooth?

Migicovsky: There are a few reasons. Bluetooth is low power so it won’t drain the battery as fast as other wireless connectivity technologies so Pebble can operate up to seven days on one charge. We chose to use dual-mode so we could support Bluetooth “classic” and Bluetooth low energy modes to be able to connect to the maximum amount of smartphones and tablets. All consumers should be able to use the Pebble with their devices – they shouldn’t have to choose based on OS compatibility, it should just work.

TI: Whydid you choose to work with TI to provide the Bluetooth technology?

Migicovsky: We’ve had a relationship with TI since we were working on our first watch, the inPulse. We learned a lot of lessons with the first watch concept and took those lessons learned to create Pebble. TI had the dual-mode Bluetooth technology in one module so we had no worries about certification with the Bluetooth SIG or FCC because that was done for us already. Plus, we had a great support system to keep us moving forward on design. We also are using TI analog and power management solutions to ensure that Pebble has the best battery performance to give users at least a week of battery life on a charge.

TI: What’s next for Pebble?

Migicovsky: Now that Pebble is in consumer’s hands the fun really begins. The application development is where Pebble is going to shine so it can be customized for what interests you. Whether you are into golfing, running, biking, or just want to keep tabs on your social media statuses or music, we want there to be options to meet your needs. With an open Pebble SDK and PebbleKit companion library we are looking for developers to take the Pebble to the next level with apps. As a Bluetooth device, the ability to add new apps that link to a smartphone or tablet is endless so you are not always checking your phone or tablet for updates. We are also looking for designers who want to develop companion devices or different ways to use the Pebble – it is exciting what the community is bringing to the table.

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