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It’s Pebble Time on Kickstarter Again

Feb. 24, 2015
Personal Finance
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Pebble, the smartwatch that helped move mobile technology to our wrists with a record-breaking $10 million Kickstarter campaign in 2012, is back. On Tuesday, the company launched its second-generation watch, the Pebble Time, on the crowdfunding site.

And despite competition from a crowded field of tech heavyweights, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the forthcoming Apple Watch, it appears on track for another huge outing.

Just hours into a monthlong campaign, the Pebble Time had already raked in more than $3 million Tuesday morning.

The Pebble Time features a full-color e-ink screen, similar to those on the most recent generations of the Kindle e-reader. It does not, however, have an LCD or OLED touch screen like some of the newer entrants into the smartphone market.

It always shows the time (novel concept for a watch, no?), can be used in direct sunlight and, because e-ink uses less power than other screen types, promises a whopping seven-day battery life.

A single Pebble Time could be had Tuesday for a $179 “donation” to the campaign. An early-bird special offering 10,000 watches at $159 was gobbled up almost instantly.

The Time features a new design that is 20% thinner than the original Pebble and comes in three colors: black, red and white.

It comes packed with all-new software, but remains compatible with the more than 6,000 existing Pebble apps.

It works with both Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and Google’s Android. But the new software offers app-free features like a timeline that organizes calendar events, news, emails, alarms and other notifications chronologically for easy access.

A new microphone lets users send voice responses to notifications.

Pebble was an early success story on Kickstarter, one of the first multi-million-dollar campaigns on the then-fledgling crowdfunding platform. That early support, the company says, is why they returned this time.

“Three years ago you supported our vision to make the world’s first real smartwatch,” the company wrote on the campaign’s page. “The Kickstarter community and our early adopters believed in us before anyone else even knew we existed. You blew us away with your support and kicked off a worldwide movement!”

Indeed, it’s a movement that will see Pebble facing serious competition.

Samsung, Sony, LG and Motorola are just a few of the major consumer-tech companies that have rolled out smartwatches since the Pebble debuted. And the Apple Watch, which was revealed in September, is expected to have a massive impact on the category when it rolls out this spring.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

Image via Kickstarter.