Why I bought a Pebble watch… on the eve of the Apple Watch launch

apple-watch-pressApple is launching their next “world changing technology” later today in California. Not being content with having dominated the desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet markets, they are now going after a new market: the smart watch. Google, Samsung, Sony and others have tried, but thus far been unsuccessful, to crack this market. And today marks Apple’s crack at it.

Apple gave us a sneak peak of their new big thing back in September 2014, when they called it their “Most Personal Device Ever”. With a beautiful full colour high resolution screen, touchscreen interface, new ways to navigate and a bunch of interactive sensors, what’s not to like. It is going to be gorgeous, finely tuned and oh so much fun.

I will have serious watch envy when they arrive on the market.

But alas, I have chosen another route.

pebbletimesteelI invested in Pebble’s latest Kickstarter venture this past weekend. I ordered myself a new Pebble Time Steel watch in gunmetal black. And I can hardly wait for it to arrive.

Why did I go the Pebble route instead? A few reasons…

1. Price – Pebble’s new premium watch is going for less than Apple’s entry level watch. $250 gets me a Pebble Time Steel with two watch bands. Apple’s entry level watch is rumoured to start at $350.

2. Always on, always viewable screen. I’ve always been a Kindle fan. Those devices have great screens that are easy on the eyes and they are viewable everywhere. Ever try to read an iPad in sunlight? It just doesn’t work. The Pebble uses the same e-paper screen as the Kindle (better actually… the Pebble has a colour screen). I suspect that the Apple Watch will be like a vampire: afraid of the sun. And, to maintain a full day of battery life, the Apple Watch will have to ration screen time. It’ll only be on when you really want it to be on. Pebble Time Steel? Always on. And you’ll be able to get up to 10 days of always on convenience.

3. Battery life – speaking of always on… The Pebble’s e-paper screen is like the smart car of smart watches: it’ll sip from the battery instead of gulping, which will give it up to 10 days of battery life on a single charge. The Apple Watch – not so much. There are worries that it won’t even last a full day on a single charge. Not good.

4. Cross-platform compatability – Apple Watch will work with other Apple products. The Pebble will work with both Apple and Android. This gives much more flexibility and portability. Apple is good at locking people into their ecosystem. I love Apple products but don’t want to be forced to use only their stuff. Thanks Pebble!

5. I like the underdog. Pebble’s new smart watch sales are counting in the tens of millions of dollars. Apple will likely make a billion dollars in new revenue. In this case, I’m going to cheer for the underdog – especially since they have a compelling, fully working and equally functional product on offer.

Yes, the Apple Watch will probably look nicer. It’ll look more refined. And it’ll be the talk of the town for a while. But I still can’t wait for the arrival of my new Pebble Time Steel because it’ll “just work” more often than the Apple Watch will.

Are you getting a smart watch anytime soon? If so, which one are you going to get? Let me know in the comments.



By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

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