Ramblings from a software developer

I backed the Pebble watch on the second day, so I got my shipped Pebble fairly early in the delivery process. I was asked by a friend recently how I was getting on with it, so I emailed a response, and he said “I wasn’t expecting a blog post”, but why not post it anyway?

Overall the Pebble is exactly what I thought it would be, and done very well. There was a lot of talk about the iWatch type stuff and how Apple would do one with a touch interface and apps and concepts on how you would select them. But that misses the point in my opinion – what you want is an interface you don’t have to look at. One night I went to bed in a hotel room and wore the Pebble. I was able to listen to a podcast and to turn it off when I was about to go to sleep without having to look at anything – I can feel the buttons to know which one to use, and the order. In the middle of the night, I could check the time by shaking the watch and using the big number style so my blurry eyes without glasses could still make it out. Podcast control is great, and handy to pause from across the room when the kids come in making noise, to rewind a bit after, or to skip adverts. You cannot do those when your watch needs you to do fancy touch gestures.

Phone control is also handy – I was walking home listening to a podcast on my bluetooth headphones, when my wife called. I got the ring in my ears, and looked at my watch to see it was her. I then pushed the watch button to answer it – you can also hit ignore. And you can hang up at the end too.

SMS messages from my iPhone arrive on the watch, and occasionally so do emails. This is handy as I can triage the message. Most times I just ignore, but it saves fishing a phone out to see if it is urgent.

They now have integration with run-keeper, which we use for cycling, so that may be nice.

Physically it is a little big, but not bad. I bought a £20 black metal strap to replace the plastic one. My wrists prefer the metal.

In conclusion so far, all is good. Pleased with it, it is a handy addition to a tech life. If this all sounds good, I’d say buy one.

The only slight fly in the ointment is that the display on mine went funny. Basically it seems that the display chip had a fault, so the display is not updated properly, with some sort of addressing issue. Thus I often got a completely unreadable display, or partially updated, or whatever. The good news is that they responded to my fault ticket quickly, asked for photos, accepted them quickly, and approved an RMA and replacement. The replacement shipped quickly, so I am now back to normal. However, since the interface is not really screen based, I have been getting full use of it anyway – back to that buttons being best thing!

Oh, and it tells me the time, which is the main thing. Someone has done a “pong” watch face which actually plays ping, and at the end of minute the right side loses and the time ticks over. Left side only loses once an hour. I also have “Beer o’clock” which is handy. These things are fun, but I just want a clear time and date, which is also available.

Very happy Pebbler here.