The Pebble E-Paper Watch: The First Golf GPS Device of 2013?
Golf watches took the market by storm in 2012, and we quickly fell for their ease of use. There has already been an announcement of one device, the Pebble, which might prove to be the first watch with golf GPS functionality to be released in 2013.
For those of you that don’t know Pebble, a bit of background is in order. And it starts with Kickstarter, an online funding platform that allows individuals to invest in independent projects across a variety of areas. In April 2012, Pebble started their Kickstarter campaign to fund development and production of their watch, and became Kickstarter’s biggest success to date. The Pebble team had a goal to raise $100,000, but wound up raising $1 million in the first 28 hours of funding and a whopping $10.2 million by the time the campaign ended in May 2012. Truly incredible.
Pebble is pitched as a customizable e-paper watch for iPhone and Android, with the ability to download new watchfaces and internet-connected apps, and get notifications from your phone via Bluetooth. It’s not specifically a golf GPS watch, but rather is much along the lines of the Motorola MOTOACTV, which requires a separate golf GPS app download. To gain this golf GPS functionality, Pebble is partnering with Freecaddie to leverage their database to provide distances on the watch itself. What this means is that you’ll need Freecaddie installed and running on your phone with Bluetooth enabled (the Bluetooth will use an anticipated 5-10% more battery life per day). As the Pebble is linked to your phone, this means that the Pebble likely won’t be USGA-approved for tournament use.
The free FreeCaddie app (I can’t believe we had to write that…can all you marketers out there quit using the word “Free” in your company or product name if you have a paid version?) provides distances to the front, center and back of the green, so at the least this is what we would expect at release. The Pebble has four buttons, which could provide the ability to easily toggle screens to show green and hazard distances, measure shot distances, and record scores and statistics for players who buy the paid FreeCaddie (sigh…) app, which has these additional features. FreeCaddie does not have green (or any course) graphics, so expect text distances only on your Pebble.
The expected ship date of the Pebble was originally September 2012, though the team provided an update in July that they will be missing that date. While Pebble said they will provide updates every few weeks, this has been spotty. Their pre-order page currently indicates the Pebble will ship in “early 2013”. Note to Pebble: don’t announce ship dates unless you are sure you can meet them. But before we chide them too much for missing an announced date, we should keep in mind that large companies alike often miss their dates. The best example being Callaway, which pushed out the release of their Callaway upro mx+ a full year (ouch!).
Interested in specs? Currently the Pebble is marketed as having a 144 x 168 pixel display, a backlight, and battery that lasts for over 7 days (we are assuming this in watch mode only). The Pebble is water-resistant, and has a scratch and shatter resistant cover. All software updates are wirelessly transmitted to the Pebble.
The Pebble is slated to come in five different color options: jet black, arctic white, cherry red, orange and grey. The pre-order price direct from the Pebble is $150 is any color. Don’t ask us when it will ship, though. You can talk about that on the Pebble Forums.
Retail price: $150
Pebble: Pre-order the Pebble (expected to ship in “early 2013”)
A Pebble marketing video to give some more detail: