A week with @pebble

I’m not normally a particularly impulsive person. I like to research new kit thoroughly before committing my two bob. I am also not particularly patient so buying into a 6 month wait would not ordinarily appeal to me. So when Pebble came along, it was uncharacteristic of me to buy into the Kickstarter project. I had long toyed with the idea of an iPod mini and a Lunatik strap so maybe I was already primed for something similar. Either way, I bought in and began the long, long wait.

Six months became ten (although the Pebble team kept us informed) and finally, last week, it was time (as the box proudly proclaims).

Pebble

I’m loving

  • Texts popping up (although, admittedly that was to be expected).
  • The “Text watch” watch face. It’s elegant enough to be a standalone watch. It would be nice if it showed the date though.

I’m not loving
iOS popup

  • This reconnect popup. It happens often. Annoying at times, but when taking pics or shooting video it completely blows the moment. In fact, if this is not resolved, it makes the whole thing unusable in the long term.
  • The menu system is confused. Accessing the music player is through a settings type menu (where watch faces are also accessed from). It means that if I click back from the music player, I need to reselect my watch face to get out of the settings menu.
  • The iOS app UX for selecting watch faces. It’s fine when there are no more than a handful available but if the dream of a crowd-sourced library becomes a reality, the UX will need a redesign.
  • The tic-tac-toe watch face. Frankly I just don’t understand it. Is it a random game generator?

I would like to see (in order of preference)

  • Calendar notifications is the obvious next feature. This would be a massive leap forward. If this is the only other feature they roll out (as well as stabilising the bugs), it’ll be a worthwhile thing for me.
  • The ability to scroll through notifications. If I get two texts in quick succession, I will miss the first as Pebble only shows the latest.
  • There’s been talk about Pebble as an IFTTT endpoint. That would open up the watch to be a notifier for any imaginable outcome.
  • The music player should control volume as well. The button constraints could possibly be addressed using single press / double press.
  • Get more watch faces out. A handful were released late last week but I’ve seen a website with a massive gallery of user generated faces, it would be great if the Pebble team began allowing these to be released into the wild.
  • The ability to manage watch alarms from the app.

There’s a lot to like. For the most part, it does what it says on the tin. I certainly have no cause for complaint against the Pebble team. We knew we were buying into a project rather than a finished product. The two biggest bugbears are the incessant iOS popups and the unreliable email notifications. If these are fixed, I imagine it’ll become my watch of choice. If not, I’ll use it every so often for the novelty factor, but not much more.

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