Pebble

This is not a review. I’m sure the internet has plenty of them. This is my thoughts on Pebble, prompted by @MichaelXHell.  I’ve had my Pebble a week and a half now, so I might update this, or revisit the topic. But some thoughts for now, and some ideas…

Orange pebble, blue striped NATO strapSo, on the right there? That’s my Pebble. I went for orange, as I already have a “sensible” watch. This is my insensible watch. I got a blue NATO style strap for it – more comfy, and I like how the blue goes with the orange. Note I said NATO “style”. It’s not technically a NATO strap, pedantry enthusiasts rejoice!

Notifications

Thus far, I’ve been using it with my iPhone 5 on iOS 7 – using the latest update that enables Bluetooth LE notifications. It works great, exactly as you’d expect. You can control what notifications you get to some extent by changing the notification type for different apps. I can make it work how I want.

Notifications are discreet, and yet you won’t miss them. This is everything my phone should be on quiet mode. Unlike vibrate on a phone. The phone’s on the desk? “brrrzzzz!!” someone’s phone’s gone off. In a pocket/bag? Don’t always notice it. Pebble is perfect in this regard.

It also makes reminders properly useful – on iOS they’re just not attention-grabbing enough for me. They are now.

Telling the Time

It’s a watch. Does that great. Flick your wrist and the backlight comes on. It’s amazing how much better this is than the regular “press a button”. Suddenly I can tell the time in the dark even when my hands are full. Wash your mind out with soap and stop sniggering at the back! I mean times like carrying shopping back, or riding my bike.

Controlling Music

This is the killer feature for me – except for being a badass orange colour of course. Play, pause, skip (+volume control with the Smartwatch+ app). All dead easy, without getting my phone out my pocket. This means I can use whatever headphones I want, with or without inline controls, and control my music. Or if the phone’s hooked to the hifi, still skip tracks. Or if I’ve got gloves on. Or if it’s wet and I want to keep my electronics safe. Or if the phone’s connected to the hifi wirelessly, but it’s over there and I’m over here.  Awesome.

Power

I’ve charged it twice in the time I’ve had it thus far. Probably only needed to charge it the once really. And I’ve been fiddling with it a lot. Does it drain my phone battery? Not appreciably. I’m a geek, so lets make some (wild) assumptions and do some sums! Maybe the pebble saves power? I mean I look at the phone less, it stays in my pocket more…

What’s a BT radio use? Well the pebble does 7 days on 3.7v@130mAh. Big assumption, but we’ll say the drain on the phone is similar. So that works out about 0.069Whr a day. Now, the iPhone screen draws 0.74 Watts. If I press the home button to check notifications, it’s on 10 seconds. Say for every notification I do get, I check and there’s none (the real ratio is probably worse) – so lets say 20s. If I get 17 notifications a day, it’s saved me power…

What’s next?

Well I need to try it with an Android device – one of the reasons I got it was to try as a cycle computer. I’ve a (nasty cheap) Defy Mini I use for maps and Strava when riding (Gingerbread on 600Mhz Cortex A5, feel the speed! Ahem.) I’ve paired it with it – it’ll only work with one phone at a time, but it’ll remember two pairings at least.

I aslo want to experiment with writing software for it, and apps to talk to it. I have some ideas for the accelerometer…but that’s another post for another day (if anyone cares…). Processing sensor data to do clever things is partly my day job. So either that means I’m good at it, or I can’t be bothered to do it in my spare time…we’ll see.

Questions?

Hit me up on twitter @the_accidental. I’ll post replies to good questions here in the event I get any.

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