Jan 09 AT 4:58 PM Nick Gray 15 Comments

Hands-on with Pebble – first round production units to ship January 23

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The Pebble team made its first ever CES appearance this morning with a small press event to show off its Pebble smart watch for the first time. Since the Kickstarter project launched, Pebble backers have been kept up-to-date on every little production detail. But don’t worry; we’ll fill you in if you’re not among the 68,929 backers of the project.

For starters, Pebble is finally in production and will start shipping to the first round of backers on January 23. Pebble is ramping up production to 15,000 units per week, which should allow them to get the smart watch onto the wrists of all its backers 6-8 weeks after the January 23 date.

Pebble also showed off the magnetic charging cable for the first time today. The cable features a standard USB connection on one end and a two-pin connector on the other that attaches to the Pebble watch just like Apple’s mag-safe cables. Pebble chose a magnetic cable adapter in an effort to maintain the Pebble’s 5ATM water resistance rating. Consumers don’t need to worry about getting the watch wet while washing dishes or swimming.

A few new features added to Pebble since the project was announced include an ambient light sensor and Bluetooth 4.0. The Pebble team claims that the watch can last up to 7 days, but it will drain your smartphone’s battery by 5-10% every day.

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The device itself is extremely light, though the construction materials look to be high quality. The Pebble may not have a color LCD display like i’m Watch or any of the other smart watches we’ve played with over the past 12 months, but the ePaper display is perfectly visible in direct sunlight.

Since Pebble is not running on Android, the development team has managed to keep the OS extremely light and fluid. Switching between watch faces is easy and intuitive, and controlling music from your phone, answering or dismissing calls, and checking text messages or even Facebook notifications is extremely snappy.

While the Pebble will ship with most of its promised software features, the development team is promising to roll out software updates to the device every 2-3 weeks. Pebble is not scheduled to hit retail outlets any time soon, but if you’re interested in picking one up, you can buy the Android smart watch accessory from getpebble.com

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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