Earlier this week Pebble, the company famous for releasing the first truly smart watch, announced it's newest product. The Pebble Time. The Pebble Time which has a color e-paper display that allows it to be always on, yet still get a week of battery life, and is readable in sunlight. It's also thinner and lighter then the original Pebble and Pebble Steel. It also has a new operating system which seems rather interesting. It's a timeline, kind of like Google Glass's much maligned interface.
Yet even with all of these features, this announcement kind of felt flat to me. Sure it's kind of a cool gadget, but nothing really stands out to me as a must buy feature. Which is accentuated by the fact that I am, as the website name says Obsessively Geek, and a notorious early adopter. Now maybe it's just me, because the kickstarter campaign for this thing is on fire right now, but I just don't get it.
You interface with it by using buttons on the side, instead of just reaching out and touching what you want to interact with (I'm talking about a touch screen here). The buttons are an abstraction that make things more complicated than I want it to be. It feels like a product that would have been exciting before we had Android Wear watches, and were just around the corner from an Apple Watch.
The microphone is a nice addition to the Pebble, but like Android Wear and the Apple Watch, I'd like to be able to do more with it. I have fantasies of being Dick Tracy and communicating through my watch. Let me do that. Android Wear hit it out of the park for me the first time I saw it running on a Moto 360. It gave me the notifications I cared about. I could do pretty much anything with my voice (as opposed to just replying to notifications), and it gave relevant information at relevant times.
The same can be said for the Apple Watch. Now I'm not completely sold on the Apple Watch. I think the design is way too 1950s style retro futuristic for me, however maybe that will change when I finally have one in my hands. However everything else about the Apple Watch hits the mark for me. My wife, was obsessed with something as simple as sending me her heartbeat when she saw it announced. I think in software, the Apple Watch hits it out of the park on nearly everything. It's just that design bothers me.
Just like on the Android Wear side, with the Apple Watch, I can interact with Siri, take phone calls, dictate replys or voice messages, it has a smooth looking interface, one that I won't get lost in, and one that I can figuratively just reach out and touch without any abstractions between me and what I want to do. Sure there's a digital crown and button, but that's there to make certain interface elements easier rather than being the only way to interface with the watch. It's an enhancement not a crutch. To me, the Pebble Time just feels irrelevant when things like Android Wear, and the Apple Watch are around. It feels like blackberry trying to hang in there when the iPhone and Android are far better systems. And with a price tag of $200 US it no longer has much of a price advantage. Am I right, or am I completely off base on this?