Nearly three years ago, Kickstarter darling Pebble debuted one of the world's first official smartwatches. The online crowdfunding campaign amassed more than 69,000 backers and raised $10.26 million in just over a month, becoming one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time.
Fast forward to 2015 and the company's at it again on Kickstarter with Pebble Time, a $179 color display smartwatch. The campaign reached its $500,000 goal just 17 minutes after launching Tuesday, and the total grew to more than $1 million in 30 minutes. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $6 million with nearly 33,000 backers and counting.
The Pebble Time uses technology similar to e-ink (a la Amazon's Kindle), which offers seven days of always-on battery life. The updated Pebble also features a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass screen with a stainless steel bezel as well as an onboard microphone and a motion-sensing gyroscope. All of this is packed within a 9.5 mm thick frame, 20 percent thinner than the original Pebble and slightly curved to more comfortably fit the wearer's wrist.
Though the hardware doesn't include anything as sophisticated as a heart-rate sensor, the watch's charging port doubles as an expansion port that would allow developers or hardware companies to build compatible accessories like GPS trackers or portable battery bands.
Pebble says all of its 6,500 existing apps like RunKeeper, ESPN, and Weather Channel should work seamlessly with the Pebble Time's updated software, which features a new app "timeline" to alleviate the crowding problem faced with smaller screens.
The watch is available for $160 for a limited time during the Kickstarter campaign and begins shipping in May. Once the campaign ends, the price jumps to $200, though the watch will be available at retail and direct through Pebble later this year.