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article imagePebble launches new smartwatches and a 'magic button' Android PC

By James Walker     May 24, 2016 in Technology
Smartwatch manufacturer Pebble has announced three new products to reinforce its commitment to the space. The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are updates of its existing smartwatches. They are joined by the Pebble Core, a $69 palm-sized Android PC.
Pebble is seeking funding for all three products using a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Just a few hours in, the company has already received over $2 million after seeking $1 million.
Pebble 2
Pebble 2
Pebble 2
Pebble
The Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core were announced today. The Pebble 2 is a "reimagining" of Pebble's baseline smartwatch. For the first time, it includes a built-in heart rate monitor, making it more attractive to people who like to use smartwatches as a fitness tracker.
The wearable includes an updated suite of health apps to work with the new sensor. It has a 7-day battery life, 30-metre water resistance, integrated microphone and support for activity and sleep tracking.
Pebble Time 2
The Pebble Time 2 has a colour e-paper display that is 53 percent larger than the original Pebble Time. It also includes a continuous heart rate monitor and up to 30 metres of water resistance. Its battery will last for up to 10 days.
Pebble Time 2
Pebble Time 2
Pebble
The devices represent an effort by Pebble to stay relevant in the smartwatch space, an area it claims to have invented. Pebble has been making smartwatches for much longer than most other companies, evolving its products from simple notification monitors to complete phone companion devices.
Pebble's unique interface style continues onto the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2. You control the watch through the Timeline view, giving you an immediate look at your calendar appointments, the weather conditions, upcoming reminders and important alerts. You can customise your watch with configurable One-Click Actions, letting you jump straight to specific tasks like sending a message or opening an app with a single button press.
Pebble 2
Pebble 2
Pebble
"At Pebble, we believe that a smartwatch needs to start as a great watch," said Pebble. "The time should be visible at a glance. Battery life shouldn't be a daily worry. The display should be readable in sunlight. And it should enjoy a dip in the pool." Retail versions of the Pebble 2 will start at $129 and will begin shipping in September. The Pebble Time 2 will cost $199 and will start shipping in November.
Pebble Core
Smartwatches weren't the only things Pebble announced today. It also unveiled the Pebble Core, a $69 Android PC that you can clip to your clothing and take for a run. The Core is around the same size as Apple's classic iPod Shuffles. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and includes 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network connections, accepting a micro SIM card for mobile data. There's 4GB of internal storage and up to 5.5 hours of battery life when listening to music and using GPS.
Pebble Core  an Android 5.0 PC to attach to your keychain
Pebble Core, an Android 5.0 PC to attach to your keychain
Pebble
Core is aimed at two different groups of users, hackers and runners. For the hackers, Pebble is marketing the Core as an Android computer so small you can attach it to your keychain. Because it runs a full Android OS and includes GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and voice control, you could use a Core as a tiny device to control your smart home, whether it be opening your garage door, turning lights on and off or setting simple location alarms.
The Core has two physical buttons that "can be configured to do whatever you like." Pebble describes it as a "magic button for any use case you dream up."
Pebble Core
Pebble Core
Pebble
Alternatively, you can take the Core out running. It can stream music from Spotify and automatically tracks your pace, distance and location using GPS. You can also take voice notes while on the go, letting you capture ideas you get while exercising without interrupting your run.
The device will begin shipping in January 2017 for a retail price of $99. You can pick one up for $69 by supporting Pebble's Kickstarter campaign for the project.
Pebble 2
Pebble 2
Pebble
Pebble's new range indicates how it is not going to succumb to the rising competition from the likes of Apple and Google. The Apple Watch and Android Wear are built on top of established ecosystems, appealing to customers that already own an iPhone or Android device.
Pebble has the advantage of being something completely unique with a distinctive visual style though. It’s a smartwatch and nothing more, a position it appears proud to hold. Founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky told The Verge Pebble is "affordable, fun, and it doesn't take itself too seriously," pointing out that the relatively low 1.8 million devices sold is still more than the estimated number of Android Wear watches in use.
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