Will 2012 be the year you buy a smartwatch? I have dreamed of a smartwatch that did not suck for a long time, and it looks like this year might finally be the time to purchase one.
Back in 2010, I pleaded with people to buy the Sony Liveview, in hopes they would make a better model in the following years. Sony listened to feedback and this year they debuted the Sony Smartwatch at $149, which has been met with mostly positive reviews. It features an improved color OLED display with multitouch, support for lots more apps, average battery life of 3-4 days, and it can be found online for as low as $117.
Sony’s Smartwatch looks impressive and I still might order one, but in the last week the upcoming Pebble watch has been getting a lot of buzz and now I’m having second thoughts.
Pebble launched a Kickstarter project to raise $100,000 for their e-paper watch. In a little under a week, they have raised over $3,100,000 from 22,204 backers and the support keeps coming in.
So what makes the Pebble so special? For starters, it supports both Android and iPhone, which will attract a larger group of developers to make applications. Compared with the Sony Smartwatch, the Pebble offers roughly double the battery life (7 days) and it will be waterproof.
The Pebble should also be infinitely customizable. It will ship with a handful of downloadable watchfaces and its own official app store, but Pebble has provided the tools that will allow almost any geek to tweak the smartwatch to their liking. It features integration with ifttt.com (perfect for non-coders), a RESTful API (for medium-coders), and a full SDK (for boss coders).
Like the Sony Smartwatch, the Pebble will debut with a suggested retail price around $150. However, you can score one of the first Jet Black Pebble watches when it launches later this year by pledging only $115. If you pledge an additional $10, then you can pick one Pebble in any color (choose from Arctic White, Cherry Red, Voter’s choice or Jet Black).
We don’t know exactly when the Pebble will launch, but it’s expected to ship sometime around September. Those who pledged $235 for the hacker special will receive a prototype watch in August so they can start coding their apps early.
Looking at the Sony Smartwatch and Pebble, each one has its own advantages. The Sony model is available for purchase today and it features a multi-touch color display, while the Pebble will have a longer battery life and likely more developer support.
If you are in the market for a smartwatch, let me know what you think. Should I dive in and pick up the Sony Smartwatch right now for the sale price of $117 or wait another 5-6 months for the Pebble in hopes that it it lives up to the hype?