Pebble Time Smartwatch is Most-Funded Kickstarter Ever

Personal Finance
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Pebble smartwatch Kickstarter

With more than three weeks to go, the Pebble Time smartwatch has become the most funded Kickstarter campaign ever.

As of Wednesday morning, the second generation of the groundbreaking mobile device had hauled in $15.4 million, the most ever on the crowdfunding site, from more than 62,000 backers.

Pebble is no stranger to raking it in on Kickstarter. The first iteration of the watch pulled a then-record $10 million in backing in 2012. But that was when almost no one had heard of, much less worn, a smartwatch.

This time out, Pebble is facing competition from tech titans like Samsung, LG and Sony, with Apple expected to announce a release date for its potentially game-changing Apple Watch next week.

“We had hoped you’d like what we’ve been working on…but you never know for sure until you launch!” the company wrote in a campaign update last week. “The good news is that you’ve made it crystal clear. And we thank you immensely for this.”

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 can be used in direct sunlight, and because e-ink uses less power than other screen types, promises seven-day battery life. It works with Apple and Android devices as well as packing more than 6,000 Pebble apps of its own.

The campaign got a new burst of energy, and cash, this week when Pebble Technology announced the addition of Pebble Time Steel — a more business-wear looking watch with a stainless steel case — and “smartstraps.”

The straps contain electronics and sensors that let them interact with the watch itself. Pebble is opening up the platform that runs the straps to developers to see what sort of hacks they come up with.

A Pebble Time can be had for $179 and a Time Steel for $250.

With its massive haul, Pebble Time has surpassed the Coolest cooler, which raised more than $13 million in August. The Coolest has a built-in blender, Bluetooth speaker and built-in USB charger.

The original Pebble campaign remains Kickstarter’s third-biggest fundraiser.

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


Image courtesy of Pebble.