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Apple only recently began shipping the Apple Watch on April 24, 2015. In a short period of time, the company has already stricken fear in the smartwatch industry. Apple, a leading force in technology, has created a smartwatch that offers additional functionality which leaves some companies in the past. One of those companies, Pebble, is trying to remain relevant in the ever-changing tech market.
Pebble is a modern day success story that started with a concept radically new for its time. Pebble became the company that it is today with the help of Kickstarter and their wildly successful crowd funding campaign. Pebble raised $10.3 million dollars for their smartwatch concept through Kickstarter. This particular campaign became the highest revenue producing Kickstarter campaign of its time.
The original Pebble watch, still available for purchase today, was initially released in 2013. The Pebble Watch features a black and white LCD display, Bluetooth, vibration, ambient-light sensor, accelerometer. The Pebble is capable of interacting with smartphone notifications, activity tracking, gaming, and much more. Within 5 days of its release, Best Buy completely sold out of all Pebble units proving that this watch was a symbol of changing times and technology.
Pebble stayed true to their roots with an unchanged watch for years. While the Pebble Watch maintained the same functionality as it did in 2013, other smartwatch makers began producing more capable smartwatches. Companies like Samsung created the Gear and Gear 2 that offered more features and capabilities. These watches were bulky and unattractive, however. The Pebble Watch remained a popular choice due to its long lasting battery, water resistance, and attractive design.
Pebble’s competition has dramatically increased with the introduction of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is priced much higher than the Pebble watch, however it does offer much more functionality. The design of the Apple Watch is also incomparable, making Pebble watches seem like a less attractive choice for smartwatch buyers.
It is clear that Pebble knows they are in some sort of trouble. It is reported that the Pebble watch company is not growing, and has applied for a $5 million loan from the Silicon Valley Bank in hopes of maintaining their existence. The company also allegedly filed for an extra $5 million credit line. The company employs over 150 people and are hiring new employees as we speak.
Sources reported to TechCrunch that many of Pebble’s employees aren’t exactly happy with the route that Pebble has taken in the recent past. Intense competition from other companies, such as Apple, has some Pebble employees worried about their jobs.
Pebble is attempting to breathe new life into its stagnating company with loans and a brand new Kickstarter campaign. This new campaign is aimed to generate enough funds to produce a brand new Pebble watch known as Pebble Time.
Their website claims their new watch isn’t magical, but it seems to be due to its long lasting battery life. “No Voodoo, we swear. Color screen and up to 7 day battery life!” The Pebble time will include a color screen, awesome battery life, a new OS, and a microphone for hands free calling. All these new features seem to have people excited for the new Pebble Time. As of May 21st 2015, the new watch has 78,471 backers for the Kickstarter campaign, raising well over $20 million dollars.
While the new Pebble Time could be a compelling choice, many people will still spend the extra money for the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is currently available with all the features of the Pebble Time, plus more. Siri integration, a heart rate sensor, direct iOS connectivity, and an even more stylish design makes the Apple Watch the more compelling choice.
Another problem that will most likely affect demand for the new Pebble Time is that the company is late to the game. While Pebble is scraping together funds to create the new smartwatch, consumers might have already sprung for the currently available Apple Watch online. To the delight of many, Apple Watch will be available for purchase in stores by June this year. If patience isn’t one of your main qualities, the Apple Watch can be ordered online now, here.
While the Apple Watch might seem like the obvious smartwatch choice, it is in our interest to have options available. Hopefully, Pebble can produce a quality watch at a low price point to keep the company afloat. If the Pebble Time is as good as they say it will be, Pebble might have Apple looking over their shoulders. Increased competition in the marketplace could mean a lower priced Apple Watch for all of us to enjoy.