Four out of five smartwatches are rubbish, but one is not. That’s the Pebble (disclosure – I own one). And the most excellent wearable computer is about to get a little bit better: news in from the maker this morning is that Pebble will get its own platform independent app store next year.
Over at the Pebble blog, the announcement is that a separate appstore – presumably web-based will carry links to both iOS and Android versions of Pebble apps, making it easier for owners to find decent Pebble programs for their phone and for developers to find an audience. A Pebble without a phone is basically a watch, only when it connects to apps on your smartphone does it come alive, flashing up notifications of emails and SMS alerts, tracking your exercise routines using the phone’s GPS and so on.
Personally, I find it’s most useful for things like one-time passwords from the bank. Being able to tap them on screen without having to pull my phone from my pocket is a huge plus.
In addition to this news, developers also now have access to version 2.0 of the Pebble SDK, which means that they can create apps which don’t just synchronise with data on your smartphone: they can access more sensors (like the accelerometer) and also pull data directly from the web via your phone’s connection rather than hopping through an additional background app – which should improve phone battery life.
According to the US firm – which still holds the record for the largest amount of funds raised on Kickstarter to date – there are almost 200 000 Pebbles out there already, with 80 000 watchface designs published by owners adn more than 50 companion apps on Google Play and iTunes.
Expect many more of the latter soon.
In the meantime, here’s a video about iOS notifications on Pebble.