Pebble Adding iOS 7 Support, Features To Smartwatch
November 7, 2013

Pebble Adding iOS 7 Support, Features To Smartwatch

Peter Suciu for – Your Universe Online

Earlier this year, smartwatch maker Pebble had secured a $15 million investment, which came on the heels of the Pebble project that raised an additional $10 million via a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.

The latter was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects to date and helped put more than 190,000 Pebble smartwatches on wrists around the world.

While a version 2.0 of the device’s hardware still has yet to be announced, the company is looking to move forward with the software. On Wednesday, Pebble announced full integration of its smartwatch with Apple’s iOS7 mobile operating system. This was accompanied by the release of a second version of a software development kit (SDK) for creating Pebble apps for iOS and Google’s Android OS.

This iOS7 integration will allow users to sync the smartwatches with an iPhone, and receive smartphone notifications including calls and messages to be sent directly to the wrist.

“This includes notifications beyond calls, texts, and emails, such as Calendar, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, Dropbox, WhatsApp, Flipboard, and more,” Eric Migicovsky of Pebble told PCMag on Wednesday.

With iOS7, the push notification is driven by the iPhone. As a result, messages will be sent to both the device and the watch. At present this means there is no option to have the notifications show up just on the watch.

The SDK 2.0 will allow developers to access the device’s accelerometer as well as allow them to log and store data directly to the device, even when not connected to a handset. In addition, data can be pulled from the phone’s Internet connection on its own. This opens up the possibility for fitness apps, standalone weather and transit apps among others to add functionality that the Pebble had previously lacked. Moreover, developers can code cross-platform apps by utilizing Javascript. This will enable the creation of apps that are compatible with both Android and iOS without the need of a compiler.

While the new SDK is being rolled out, it could be a while before users will see all of this functionality at their fingertips or -- more importantly -- on their wrists. The company is allowing a few weeks for existing apps to get updated and made fully compatible with the new SDK.

Following this, the software update will be sent to users, along with the latest wave of new apps. Among those coming soon will be a new Foursquare app that will allow users to check into locations with the touch of a button, a Yelp app for showing of local attractions, and most impressively, a GoPro app made by Pebble that will allow the smartwatch to act as a remote control for use with the wearable, rugged video camera.

The software will also provide Bluetooth LE (low energy) connectivity, something that has been notably missing to date with the smartwatch. Previously the device has relied on the higher-bandwidth, older Bluetooth connection. With this update, the Pebble will keep both forms of Bluetooth as Android devices are only slowly adopting this low energy version.

Pebble watches can be purchased directly from the company’s online store for $149.99, including free worldwide shipping, as well as through exclusive US partners Best Buy and AT&T.