Ben's thoughts on the Record Breaking Pebble Time
Since it was announced just over a month ago, the Color Pebble Time has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, the whole company has been the little startup that could since they launched their initial Smartwatch on Kickstarter. This piece by The Verge. Shows you just how remarkable it is.
When it was all said and done, The Time set a new Kickstarter record at $20.33 million. That smashes the previous record by around $7 million and just about doubles up the first pebble. That initial record breaking push, they did it all in about a week. Yes, a week. Granted, people have a good idea what they're getting at this point and with the May-July delivery timeframes this isn't a traditional Kickstarter project. Its more using crowd funding as a preorder and marketing platform for a product that was already ready to release. This strategy has been used effectively by other companies as well. I expect Pebble and others will continue to use it as long as Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow them to and the press continues to pay extra attention to crowd funding projects.
How successful the Pebble Time was is even more remarkable given the current market climate. Despite the new color e-ink type display, the Pebble Time is still very stripped down in interface. Its still button controlled and there is no touch screen. Yet, its more than holding its own. This is despite Android Wear is firmly planting its roots in everything from cheaper plastic watches to the Luxury market in an upcoming Tag Heuer collaboration and the juggernaut that is the Apple Watch is weeks away from a lunch. I would have thought demand for devices like the Pebble would have been supplanted by the more advanced platforms, yet it's actually been growing. Its not a pricing issue since the Pebble Time at $199 for the plastic version and $299 for the steel isn't that different from Android wear.
Why this is happening is an interesting question. I don't claim to have any answers here. It would be interesting to know who is buying the Pebble Time. Are they Pebble owners who were happy with their experience and didn't want to trade up? Are they Android Wear/ Galaxy Gear users not pleased with the touch experience? Honestly, I'm not making money off of this and I want to know for my own curiosity. So, if you're a Pebble Time buyer, let me know.
Remember, I'm looking for a contributing gig at a Mac-centric site, so if you have some leads let me know. You can also find me (eventually) contributing at Geeks Life and The Professional Apple User's Academy. If you like these insights here, at least until I can find someone to pay me for them, let me know. Talk to you all later.