In praise of Pebble


So with the demise of Pebble, I decided to dive into Android Wear earlier this year and hang up my trusty Pebble Time. I had found the small screen on my Pebble a bit of a struggle to read at times for my tired old eyes and it would be nice to scroll through all the text of my emails. I got an Asus Zenwatch 2, good price and nice bright big screen. The swipe UI is a bit more intuitive if less precise than the Pebble. But after 6 months have finally given up with it. Having to charge it every day and sometimes twice was a complete pain as I often forgot and it would die on me. Then there was the screen which was pretty impossible to read in daylight. The vibration is really feeble compared to the Pebble’s jackhammer and I constantly missed notifications.

I love smartwatches but let’s face it, they are not, unlike smartphones, one of life’s necessities. To all but absolute die hard simple lifers, smartphones have become, for good or ill, an indispensable part of our all too busy lives. Take my 20 year old son who is into all things retro (like, way back to the latter years of the last century), said one day that he was going to eschew his smartphone and the whole interweb thing, Facebook, Whatsapp etc,etc for an old style ‘brick phone’ - yeah right, lasted nearly a whole week. So charging the damn things every day is an accepted fact of life in our brave new techno world. Smartwatches on the other hand are, in my view, a convenience but not a necessity; great for seeing who is calling, emailing etc and whether you need to dig out your smartphone from wherever you left it. However this convenience is unfortunately completely outweighed by having another device that needs daily charging. Hence their slow demise. Which is where Pebble got things nearly right.

Back to my Pebble - oh deep joy, I had forgotten what a brilliant product this was/is. Dug it out again after some 6 months gathering dust in a drawer, charged to 80% in 30 minutes but assumed most if not everything would be dead. Downloaded the app, paired and waited for inevitable tedious resetting and other pairing problems. Nope, all my settings, watch faces all popped back straightaway, no problem. I can read the screen, like all the time!!! Don’t miss any notifications and it is charge and forget.

This has convinced me that the key problem with Android, Apple and their ilk is quite simply, as has been said many, many times before, their crummy battery life which most people can not be bothered with. As an analogy, they are at at the same point of evolution as the early mechanical wristwatches which had to be manually wound every day. They still exist but only purist watch nuts ever bother with them. They have been long superseded by automatic movements and long lasting battery, solar and kinetic powered quartz. Once the Smartwatch industry can develop a longer lasting battery arrangement and a screen where you can see the time at a glance like, oh I don’t know, a watch possibly, then maybe they would start to sell. Pebble came pretty close to cracking it.

So I have been reconciled with my first love Pebble and it’s lovely. But I’m hopelessly fickle as my wandering eye alights upon the latest glamorous sexy new model. The Xiaomi Amazfit Pace, good battery life, larger always on transreflective touch screen and most important of all, cheap. Hm - ticks most of my boxes and might give that a try. Has had mixed reviews so probably will all end in tears and have to go running back to Pebble. Will let you know

If you have been, thanks for reading

Kind regards



I agree, the Pebble had it right.


Nice post. I was originally considering the Asus but the battery life also killed the idea for me. What most smart watch manufacturers seem to get confused over is what people need in a smart watch Vs what is nice to have. People don’t want to charge a watch every day (or even every other day, hence I ruled out the Pebble round). Likewise, we don’t need to play games on a watch, make calls on it or write e-mails on it, we have the phone for all of those things. The watch is best placed as an extension to your phone, not something to replace it. Pebble figured this out (or maybe lucked into it) and it is about time other manufacturers figured this out.


I agree, what a great post.

Pebble did get it right. I have a few if them; my latest the Pebble 2 HR. It is a fantastic product.

But I know I’m on a sinking ship, waiting for rescue.

Are there so few Pebble users out there that no one company is interested? Could Eric M. not get a next Gen watch, compatible watch that is, off the ground?


I agree with you all.

I am a developer of a couple of Pebble apps / faces. What I would need from another smartwatch vendor is:

  1. It must be easy to get started with development for the watch. Pebble got this sooo right with CloudPebble ( and it seems that Fitbit will get it right as well with Fitbit Studio (
  2. Scale down on all the “nice” features and give us a watch with long battery life. Heartrate monitoring, gps’ing and music - yeah, nice, but not needed. Obviously, if you need to market your product as a “fitness” tool then you need the features …
  3. Personalization … This is what I really love in a Pebble watch. I have the option to download gazillion of funny watchfaces. I can change the straps to any ordinary strap (being leather, plastic, whatever). In short - I can get the watch I want - and it can even match my mood … That is so nice.

To me - the word “smart” in “smartwatch” also entails decisions in design world. The current selection of smartwaches at best looks ugly. I really like the Pebble Round (too much frame around the watchface, though :slight_smile: - but many of the Android Wear watches and even the Apple Watch looks … dull. Why the emphasis is on square watches is beyond me.

I would really love a watch which basically bears these specifications:

  • e-Ink display
  • Basic buzzer of even some sort of mono speaker (for alarms)
  • Basic hookup with phonAe for notifications and integration with an “app store” (much like how the pebble app works)
  • Be able to change straps and frame of watch (different material / different color etc)
  • Developer-friendly (cloudpebble-ish / fitbit studio-ish)
  • And … please, give us a round watch :slight_smile:

That would totally rock my boat! :slight_smile:


Fitbit just announced their new watch and you can truly see that pebble team was involved in the design and battery life. Check it out: Fitbit Ionic



Not convinced - early days and may have got things wrong but;

No always on screen - a key feature of Pebble. $300 is a lot to pay for a blank screen

Good battery life - but is at the expense of the screen being off most of the time?

No apparent way to respond to texts, calls, emails - not sure if I am correct on that but if it is the case, that is a whopping omission at this price and the potential to kill it.

Design - can’t say I’m that impressed. Looks a bit like the old Gear 2 and other early Chinese iterations of the smart watch. Screen looks oddly cut off as well.

Looking at other posts on the Forum, don’t think I’m the only one who is distinctly underwhelmed by the Ionic.

Kind regards



Yep, my Pebble Time Steel rocks! My other watches sit and gather dust now, and the only time that I will wear them is when my Pebble is charging, or if I’m in the shower (and yes, I know it’s waterproof.) I absolutely love this watch. The battery life, the text-by-voice feature, and the Google Maps navigation sent to my watch while riding on my motorcycle feature are absolutely fantastic. I like the Star Trek ‘LCARS’ screen, or the Pebble ‘Casio’ type screens the best. Also I love having the ability to change the song, or up/down the volume of a song, or stop the song on the radio or Bluetooth speaker that is connected to my phone via Bluetooth while driving.


Great post - I too am “stuck” with the Pebble. Much like everyone else said, I’m not buying anything with a screen that isn’t always visible, and I don’t want something you have to charge every day (I like the sleep tracking, which becomes impossible). Another thing that I don’t think has been mentioned is that I just don’t like touch screens on watches - I want to be able to stop alarms and dismiss notifications without stopping what I’m doing and peering at the thing.

The Ionic looks like the closest new device yet, but from their video it appears to be enormous.

I know it’s been said before but I think Pebble were a victim of their own success - they invented a whole market and then were destroyed by larger companies with a broader reach making devices that looked great in promo videos but just didn’t work as well in real life.


That’s why I decide to give a try to the new generation of TicWatch. I ordered the TicWatch E, round form factor and able to change wrist strap any time. But, nothing is perfect, it runs AndroidWear 2 (which I’m not familiar), and doesn’t have an ePaper display although it can be always ON in a power saving mode. Will see…

I’m very sad for the lost of Pebble project and I’m totally horrified by Fitbit design.


Guess it is a little ‘ironic’ (pun intended) that the much anticipated union of Fitbit and Pebble, a marriage made in heaven as some thought, ends up producing a less than ‘iconic’ piece of junk.

Harsh maybe, but really they could have done a whole lot better with access to Pebble’s skill set.

Kind regards



I just bought a pebble time to back up my Iwatch. I think Pebbles are fantastic. Will keep buying them.


It’s a difficult decision because I’m currently on Android 4.4.4, which is solid as a rock, but my new Galaxy Note 8 may or may not be as happy with the Pebble app. And later it will get Android Oreo. And who knows how that will work? Additionally, what will Android (peppermint???) do to the Pebble app? And so forth. You buy a wrist watch top last around 7-10 years! But smartwatches are treating watches like phones. And that’s just messed up.

So, I will get my Note 8, which cost a small fortune, and if the Pebble app works very well, I will get another one for Christmas. I want the red one, and a rose gold metallic wrap, and rose gold buckle, if I can find both. I hope it works out. Because the Fitbit Ionic is $300 bucks and you can’t even look at your watch in the sunlight. Dumb. What a dumb decision they made. Especially with phones taking you broke these days.


I was one of the first Pebble Steel owners here in Germany.
3 years later, I’ve tried some other smart watches, but nothing compares to my lovely one.

My experiments ended with the purchase of two Pebble 2 HRs, and I am cannote be happier so far. CHAPEAU, PEBBLE!

I had to change my smartphone, though: the Huawei P9 has general bluetooth stability problems, and the Pebble App has been closed from time to time. Now I have a BQ Aquaris X with pure Android 7.1.1, and all problems are gone.


It’s seem that no pebble user will let his beloved watch soon or later :smile: Since I have the PTR, It’s already hard to return to PS :slight_smile:

Just ont think on the new fitbit : if i’m on a sport training, I’dont want to slow down to be abble to push on one button or screen to see something, I just want to run, take a quick view on my watch and continue on my way. But it’s non of my business :stuck_out_tongue:


I am your father

(Gear 2 Neo)

Kind regards



As others have said, great post!
I am still fondly attached to me Pebble Steel (the monochrome version). It does with confidence what I suspect none of the others can do, and that is remain visible, even under the most brightest Aussie sunlight, in fact, the brighter the better. :slight_smile:

I actually do drop my watch on to the charger each night, but the thing is, it is a daily top-up; in less than 10 minutes, it is up to full charge and ready for the next 23.9 hours of use. I know Android wear watches cannot match that, and I fear that none ever will.

I hope my Pebble can stay the distance, for it looks like the alternatives are rather bleak.


Yeah, right, no way to respond to messages; you are correct, it is said (but not written!) in a recent review, and was confirmed in the Fitbit forum. Guess these people from fitbit don’t know what a Pebble was, just hired some people…


There is nothing that compares to a Pebble.

I am concerned about the long term. I am getting a red PT for a holiday gift, with new wrap and new strap. A red nato strap with rose gold buckle, as is the wrap - rose gold. Very hard to find, I might add. So, perhaps I can maximize the battery life by having two and giving each one a rest period.

Thanks for the post. #lovemypebnle



I love my Pebble Time Steel too! and fortunately I’m not the only one. After Pebble passing away as a company, the community is still alive. Thanks to God! Take a look at Rebble, the community effort for Pebble tech revival.