Pebble Runs into Yet Another Issue, Now Having Trouble Getting Colour Watches to Market

Posted by Tom Emrich

If you are hoping to see coloured Pebble Watches out in the wild anytime soon, don’t hold your breath.

The successful Kickstarter project, which raised over $10 million dollars for the production of its smart watch from nearly 69,000 backers, has run into yet another production issue delaying the shipment of the colour watches to those that ordered them.

Pebble recently sent out an update to all their colour watch backers letting them know that they ran into quality issues during a production run of their red watch with challenges with the hard coating layer on the lens. They have restarted production, but right now they are expecting red watches to start shipping in two to three weeks with the orange, white and grey watches still having no known shipment date.

Due to the delay, Pebble is giving all colour backers the option to switch their watches to Jet Black and will refund the $10 fee that single and double colour backers initially paid per watch. Pebble says that they have many black watches in stock and can ship them out within two weeks for those that change their order.

As a grey watch backer, the news that my watch still had a TBD beside its shipment date caused me to hit the switch button in the email I got Tuesday pretty quickly. My wrist is aching for a smart watch and I’m already afraid that by the time my grey Pebble watch comes in it will already be the home to a shiny new iWatch from Apple.

This delay is not the first hiccup Pebble has had in its journey to market. The delay in colour watches will push them out past a year since their Kickstarter campaign started in April 2012. Pebble was originally expected to ship watches to backers in September of 2012 but didn’t start shipping until January of this year—and even then only in small quantities.

That being said, Pebble has confirmed that all black watches for Kickstarter backers have left the factory. According to Pebble’s own online shipment tracker, over 55,000 Pebble watches have been built so far with 54,675 shipped worldwide (55% of these to the USA).

If we assume that each backer purchased one device (which may not be entirely accurate) this means that nearly 79% of backers now have their watch. It also suggests that only 21% of the backer community is waiting on a coloured product. So although the current delay is a valid one, this number puts things in perspective.

As the majority of backers are now with watches on their wrist, Pebble is now starting to shift their focus to the developer community, which they admitted they’ve done a poor job communicating to up until this point. The prototype for their Pebble Watchface SDK is expected to be released sometime this week. This SDK will allow developers to create different watch designs and even allow for simple arcade-like games to be created (like Snake).

This proof-of-concept Pebble watchface SDK will not enable access to things like the accelerometer, or magnetometer or communication between the watchfaces and the smartphone but this should all come about as the SDK evolves.

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Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

Tom is a freelance consultant and blogger based in Toronto specializing in mobile, tablets and emerging technology. He has worked with independent developers, major media companies and start-ups on successfully developing, launching and marketing digital products here in Canada and abroad. His professional passion for technology is eclipsed only by his personal obsession with emerging... more



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