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Initial Thoughts: New Pebble 2 with optical HR, and Core with 3G, GPS & Spotify

Today Pebble announced two new fitness focused devices, the Pebble Time 2 and the Pebble Core.  Both are squarely targeted at competing with existing fitness companies, but in this case Pebble is taking a bit of a different twist on things with the Core.  It’s almost a throw-back idea to the days of having separate accessory pods for GPS, except unlike those days it’s got a bunch of cool stuff in it.  So it’s like a throw-forward…or something.  But more on that in a minute.

Longtime readers know that I don’t often like posting on products until I’ve had some hands on in person.  And they’re working to get me a unit to play with a bit before the Kickstarter campaign ends.  However in this case, I have spent numerous hours both in-person earlier in the year, and then on Skype calls discussing the concept and then getting live demos of the unit.  It’s not quite the same as hands-on, but I know there will be a bunch of interest around the products and my thoughts so I figure this is a good starting point for now.

The Pebble 2:

pebble_2_collection_white

The Pebble and Pebble Time both receive pretty solid upgrades, with the inclusion of an optical HR sensor – making them the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2.  This sensor will be used for both 24×7 HR tracking as well as workout tracking.  The sensor is integrated directly into the back of the unit (versus some Pebble sensor band ideas that have been floated about).

Of course, anytime you start talking optical HR sensors you get into the realm of accuracy and recording rates.  At this point Pebble says they’re seeing test results within 5% (bpm) of other units (chest straps and Mio optical HR sensor), 95% of the time.  On the optical HR sensor update rates, during 24×7 mode, the unit will sample at a reduced rate that’s still being decided (considering allowing the user to control rate), while during workouts it’ll record at every second.  But again, I’d wait until the egg hatches before deciding one way or another whether the sensor is good or not.

The unit does *not* have GPS in it, as that’s been pushed to the Pebble Core, the pod-like clip-on accessory.  Of course at $99 the Pebble 2 (with optical HR) would be one of the cheapest optical-enabled watches out there.  The larger Pebble Time 2 starts at $169, but that features a much larger and color screen.  Both of which the base Pebble 2 lack.  Note that post-Kickstarter, the retail prices would be $129/$199.  Though I don’t think $199 is a viable price for the Pebble Time 2, compared to competitive offerings.

They expect battery life to be about 10 days for the Pebble Time 2, versus 7 days for the Pebble 2.  Both the new Pebbles are waterproof to 30 meters, despite also both having microphones in them (often a tricky point for waterproofing). And both Pebbles have automatic exercise detection. In fact, the optical HR sensor will kick up the sampling rate automatically when it detects you’re exercising.

The main appeal of Pebble outside of its core smartwatch and health features is the app ecosystem.  It’s been around well before the Apple Watch, and thus has a pretty dedicated following in terms of apps.  Of course, it doesn’t quite have as many mainstream apps as something like the Apple Watch (i.e. there’s no United Airlines app), but you still get some majors like Uber, PayPal and Evernote.  Which is more than Garmin’s Connect IQ has in terms of major brands.  As fitness watches become more and more mainstream, watch ecosystem app stores will continue to be more and more important.  And that’s even more true as you get to the ability to connect directly to cellular networks without a phone, as the Pebble Core provides for.

The Pebble Core:

pebble_2_and_core_blue_crop

The Pebble Core is essentially a small device similar in size to a small iPod Shuffle, and is designed to work both with and without the Pebble.  In fact, you don’t need a Pebble at all to use the Core, you can use it sans-phone and sans-Pebble (though, you’ll need a phone to configure it eventually).  I’m probably much more excited about the Pebble Core than the Pebble 2, as I think it’s a pretty intriguing concept, and a device that I’d likely use across a number of scenarios – running and non-running alike.

Inside the 40mm x 40mm square case packs a ton of tech, especially for $69 ($99 later at retail).  Some of it we’ve seen before in other devices, but none of it we’ve seen all wrapped together as a single unit:

– GPS (no GLONASS though)
– 4GB of storage for music storage
– WiFi Connectivity (802.11bgn)
– Bluetooth connectivity for wireless headphones
– Headphone jack for wired headphones (3.5mm)
– Micro-SIM card slot for adding cellular connectivity (3G – Bands 1900/2100)
– Microphone for audio recording/capture
– Wireless charging via Qi charger
– Entire device is simply Android 5.0 based
– Internal accelerometer
– Waterproofed to IP67, weighs 50g

All of that is paired with a software layer that also has some unique unseen before items, most notably:

– Spotify integration (for those with Premium accounts)
– Sync to various fitness platforms, including Strava, MapMyFitness, Under Armour, and RunKeeper
– SOS/Emergency notifications to friends/family using cellular connectivity
– Planned sync with Tapiriik (the developer interns for Pebble), so that gets you to Training Peaks and many others.
– Automatic app-integrated button actions, such as ordering an Uber (or anything else 3rd party developers think of)

While running with just the Core alone (no watch), you’ll get audio cues for things like Pace, Distance, and Time via Bluetooth or wired headphones.  When paired with a Pebble watch you can also see that on the watch face.  Additionally, with 3rd party apps like Runkeeper and Strava, you’ll get a similar experience there as you would using those apps normally.

PebbleCore

Note that unlike either Apple Watches or Android Gear based watches, the Pebble is compatible with any recent iOS or Android device for day to day usage.

Like the rest of the Pebble ecosystem, the Core is extensible for apps.  The Core will have its own Core JavaScript API, which is simply an extension of the existing PebbleKit JS API used on the Pebble already.  And since the core is running Android, you can also side-load Android app APK’s as normal.

However, for users not using 3rd party apps, there are some initial limitations.  For example, the Core won’t connect to any Bluetooth Smart sensor initially (i.e. Heart Rate, Cycling sensors, etc…).  Though, if you’re wearing a Pebble 2/Time 2, it will record HR data via the optical HR sensor.  And 3rd party apps can connect to sensors using the standard Android Bluetooth API’s.

Many cyclists will be wondering about ANT+ sensor connectivity.  In my discussions with Pebble, it’s something that hasn’t been finalized yet and they are considering some options.  While ANT+ connectivity doesn’t matter much to runners, it’d be critical to gaining any momentum as a cycling tracker.  There are tons of incredibly interesting scenarios with a 3G connected pod this size – most notably race tracking, such as the Tour de France live tracking (similar to this) or like Quarq’s Race Intelligence System.  Numerous sporting events would love to use such a small clip-on device with live tracking.

Speaking of which, while the unit can be clipped onto either a keychain or your clothing, the back of it can be swapped out for other accessory clips down the road.  Meaning that someone could design a bike-mount style clip as a replacement for the Core’s side-door.

Pebble is saying that you’ll get about 9 hours of battery life in GPS tracking mode while playing stored music.  You’ll get upwards of 20 hours in GPS-only mode though, but only about 4 hours in GPS+streaming music.  As noted above, the unit charges via wireless charging.  The idea being if you had it on your keychain you could just drop everything on a charging mat.

core_solo_blue

Probably the most appealing aspect of the unit for me is the Spotify integration.  In fact, I rarely listen to music while running simply because I don’t want to deal with downloading specific playlists to a dedicated device (nor do I want to carry a phone while I run).  I find I never bother to update the music on standalone devices, so it ends up being the same music over and over.  This solves that problem by having 3G & WiFi connected to my Spotify account, continually fresh music. Not to mention the ability to use either wired or wireless headphones.

The only downside here is that the Core doesn’t ship till January 2017 (the Pebble 2 units ship in September).  For the Core though, that’s an eternity in the tech world. And even more so once you miss the 2016 Holiday period (November to December).  That January 2017 dates means that all sorts of new competitive devices would be announced at/by CES 2017 in the first week of January.  I’d have thought they would have attempted to nail a November 2016 delivery timeframe, but I suspect the runway simply isn’t long enough for an all new device.

Hopefully Pebble will be able to get a unit in my hands before the end of the campaign though, and I’ll be able to give you a better idea of whether it’s a worthwhile investment for something this far off.  And also on the bright side, unlike many other Kickstarter companies – Pebble is a well understood animal at this point.  Not to mention having well established manufacturing chains to make their timelines happen.

With that – thanks for reading!

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169 Comments

  1. Maio

    So… The Pebble Core is like a MP3 player with GPS?
    If I understand correctly I can simply use the Core with my bluetooth headphones? Am I correct?
    And for $69?
    That’s really really intriguing…

    • Yup, correct – crazy.

      So you can use the Core as an MP3 player with Bluetooth or wired headphones.

      Or, you can use it as a GPS tracking device (without a screen) and get audio cues as you go along.

      Or…you can do both at the same time.

    • Maio

      That’s really really great! Almost too good. xD

      I was looking for year for a good MP3 player with bluetooth that had a good price.

      This is a great price. Also with the GPS part.

      And for the tech savy you will have a SDK to play with.

      The Core is the best part of this Kickstarter! 😀

    • You don’t know if it is a good MP3 player 🙂

    • Maio

      Knowing Pebble it will be good enough. When I run I don’t need top quality.
      If it isn’t good enough well, it will be a bummer but it’s still a pretty cool gadget.

    • Maio

      Also, by good I mean a decent MP3 player, with bluetooth (so I can use my headset) and nice battery life. (wasn’t clear on that point X\ )

    • Gregory S

      Of course android wear does all of this already…but since its not apple no one cares.

      My Moto 360 sport has GPS, Offline Maps (OSM wear), 4gb of bluetooth (google music syncing)…can connect to bluetooth HR monitors, cadence sensors and show strava segments (All via ghostracer)

      Plus its ONE device on your wrist.

    • …except that the Moto 360 more than twice the cost for the discontinued version, and nearly 5 times the cost for the current generation.

    • Mr. T

      This was brought up in another post.

      the Moto 360 sport is NOT water resistant. that is a huge deal breaker for many, many people who use it for exercise.

    • Mr. T

      * Whoops!.. I mean it’s only water resistant and not waterproof.

    • Greg

      You can get it for 199 these days

    • Xin Wang

      But the battery life of Moto 360 is limited…

      If it last for 7 days, I would buy it…

  2. Daniel

    That core is nice, but i’ve backed this on kickstarter:
    link to kickstarter.com

    which allows downloading of music so when running you can just use that without needing to stream.

    I wonder where Pebble got their inspiration from…

    • Adam

      Same here. Hoping that Mighty won’t end up being vaporware, but it’s a much better option that phone/ipod.

    • Leah

      Pebble says on their website that the Core has 4GB of storage – perfect for music downloads or audiobooks. I can’t wait to get one!

  3. Mike Richie

    For 3G connectivity you will need a data plan. Did they give you any idea about how that would work or what it would cost? That has always been the tricky part for connected devices, particularly selling into all markets. At $69 that is an intriguing device for all sorts of applications, though. Just the market as a junior detective / spy device are enormous (attach a mic to the headphone jack and get audio and gps from where ever you drop it).

    • They’re going with the approach of DIY on the data plan initially. Like you noted, selling into all markets is a mess. And there are some good data-only plans coming into certain countries.

      It sounds like they’re looking to establish partnerships where it makes sense, but not going to try and restrict sales based on those partnerships (a key mistake I think other wearable companies have made).

      As you also noted, so many cool potential options given its an Android device.

    • Kevin Mulligan

      It already has a mic.

    • Chris

      Wonder if Spotify will work on offline mode meaning no SIM card needed. Sync on wifi and then go for a run. I’m not playing $10/mo plus tax to not have to carry my phone with me.

      So Garmin: call up Spotify, get a partnership going and include 4gb of offline storage for the 935xt please. Thanks.

    • Jorge LC

      Hi Chris, I agree 100%, the key is to enable spotify premium offline mode in any small device, preferibly one of our garmin watches(if only they had enough memory!) !!

    • Leah

      Pebble says on their website that the Core has 4GB of storage – perfect for music downloads or audiobooks. ?

  4. M

    The Core sounds really compelling at that potential price. It’d be ideal for your swim cap tracking method.

  5. Steve

    The Core is a really interesting device. Hope it becomes a success! I think a barometric altimeter would be a “nice to have” in the Core. More accurate evaluations of climbs on both bike and runs. I have an Ambit 3 Peak and really appreciate the benefit of having one.

    • Chris O'Neill

      Swim cap tracking was exactly what I was thinking. Imagine you could make it vibrate with every 100 or 200 or 500 meters tracked. Now that would be way cool.

  6. Steve

    How about visualisation? Is upload to garmin Connecticut possible?

  7. Nina

    Hmm.. if this had HR belt integration via Bluetooth or ANT then this would be the ideal solution for me. I’m not trusting optical wrist sensors much to be honest. I like the look of the pebble watches,but don’t want to carry my mobile phone around. On the other hand I’m not a fan of all the sports watches around simple because they are too big for my tiny wrists and look too sporty to wear 24/7. Guess it will yet take a long time until the perfect watch for me comes available.

    • Kevin Crossland

      I’m not sure it’s integrated from the box, but with pebble being so community friendly, I’m sure there will be fitness apps to integrate a bluetooth HRM band

  8. yanca

    Unfortunately the Pebble Core is 3G, not 4G. There is now much better coverage of 4G LTE in Europe than 3G… 🙁

    • Nina

      Does that matter? Honestly I don’t know.. I don’t have 4G in this corner of the UK at all.

    • Stepan

      Trust me it does. You can catch in my country the LTE wherever the old Edge used to be (and it was almost everywhere). 3G coverage is limitted.

    • Mike Robinson

      This may be true in your country but it is certainly not true in Europe as a whole. There is no way that 4G coverage comes close to 3G yet. Most European 4G networks were launched within the last 2-3 years while 3G deployment started around 2003 so there has been 10 more years of 3G deployment.

      The other challenge with 4G is that it uses a much greater range of frequency bands and than 3G, and different countries have selected different frequencies. According to the spec, the Core only supports 2 3G frequently bands and there are a lot more 3G bands than that so even its 3G support is limited.

      It is highly unlikely there is silicon currently available for this small size of device that will support all 4G frequency bands in use throughout the world.

    • yanca

      Unfortunately it is… 4G in Europe uses mainly 800 MHz frequencies, thus having much better coverage than 3G on 2100 MHz. Maybe there are some countries with huge 3G coverage, but this will be quickly catched by 4G which is far more efficient, offering better connection (higher donwload/upload speed and smaller ping). Some operators already plan to switch 2G and even 3G to 4G.

  9. Ken

    Some great points as always, Ray. What I can’t find anywhere is if the Core will work with the original Pebble Time. Any idea? Pebble doesn’t seem to mention it at all.

    • Dave

      The Core works with all Pebble Time watches; All pebble time watches will get the same software upgrades are are in the Pebble 2 and Time 2.

  10. GeorgeH

    Was planning to order the discounted FR235 today and just backed the Pebble Core. Awesome little unit. Thanks Ray! 🙂

  11. Kevin Morice

    I don’t really get it. Maybe I am missing something, but my phone does everything that the core does, and I already have it in my pocket. OK, it is a bit smaller, but if I desperately want to leave my phone at home and save those grams why would I then pick up anything other than a pure gps sports watch? (Surely if that small weight difference is worth dropping then I am doing something so serious that I will give up the music function?)

    • Mike Richie

      There are lots of reasons, not least of which, using gps and playing music will probably last only 4 or 5 hours on your phone. I would kill my phone all the time doing that (when I had the FR60), then no phone for anything. A watch is fine, but if your watch doesn’t have gps like the Pebble, Apple, Fitbit, etc. then that is a no go.

    • Maio

      There are a lot of people that don’t have a good enough phone for running or a sport watch. Or even, people that want a minimalist set of GPS+MP3 player because don’t like to run with phones. It’s not an item for everyone.
      Also there will be a lot of people that will use the Core for other, non-running functions (Pebble Core for Hackers).

    • Kevin Morice

      I think you are creating unlikely reasons. If you are going for 4-5 hours with your music then you are a committed ultra runner (or an unsafe cyclist if you are riding with headphones in). Either of those has a separate GPS, so you don’t waste the phone battery on GPS and thus you get a lot more than 5 hours just using your phone as a music player.

      If you really desperately want more than that you pocket a £10 powerbank to double your battery life.

    • Given Garmin sells somewhere well north of a million GPS running devices a year, it stands to reason there’s definitely a group of people that don’t want to run with their phone. And that ignores the numbers by all their GPS competitors.

      There are only a handful of GPS + Music devices out there today (TomTom Spark, Adidas SmartRun GPS). None of them have streaming services.

    • Nina

      Or you’re a slow runner. That’s me. My phone with bluetooth for the HR sensor and screen on bright to check some metrics doesn’t last long enough.

    • Kevin Morice

      That is a false equivalency. Garmin gives you a range of extra features that your phone doesn’t have. e.g. Heart rate data, stroke data, etc. are all visible at the twist of my wrist, in a smaller and easier package, power and cadence data at a glance at my stem. Garmin is not really selling you data tracking when they sell you the watch, they are mainly selling you live access to that data during your exercise. That is their ‘Unique Selling Point’. While it is no longer ‘Unique’ the differentiator between their products and your phone is ‘ease of use for sport’.

      My point is that Core doesn’t seem to be providing any useful additional function. There is no ‘Unique Selling Point’.

      Iphone is a GPS + music device. As are most android smart phones. Most of them have streaming services. Core is trying to replace a device you already own and pay for with a smaller, less functional device. It seems to me like a non-market.

      If I was a Pebble shareholder I would be selling all my shares the day Core is released because I predict the hype will raise the price and the sales figures and reviews will bankrupt them.

      (PS I don’t know anyone who doesn’t ride with their phone, and the only example that was given for where it beats a phone applies only to pure Ultra runners and I don’t actually know any of them that run without their phone either).

    • Kevin Morice

      Nina,

      Get a £10 powerbank. And send me the £59 you saved!

    • profanum429

      I’m very interested in the Core since I don’t run with my phone (dislike arm bands and my phone is a 6S+ so it fits into zero shorts I own). If I can get an iPod shuffle form factor with BT connectivity the I’m all over it. Throw in water resistance (I’ve killed who knows how many cheap MP3 players due to sweat and rain) and streaming music? Day one purchase for me.

    • Mr. T

      The core has me interested by a lot. I hate, hate hate, running with my iPhone. I don’t want to put my $600+ iPhone at risk when I run and BTW the core is waterproof, my iPhone isn’t (I’m not sure of the ecosystem of waterproof phones other than the Galaxy – thanks Lil Wayne.

      But you seem to ignore the form factor – for a lot of people that is a no small deal — and the price.

    • Nina

      Nah, I simply don’t want to carry my phone in my hand anymore. But as I look at the metrics a fair bit while running I need to hold it. Guess I’m not only a slow runner but also one who has no feeling at all for pace, and with the noise around here I tend to miss audio queues.

    • Stuart

      I am sure a lot of people would be interested in a tiny MP3 player that also tracks your workout and maps it for you to review later on

      FOR $69

      Thats a USP to me

    • ekutter

      I hate running with my phone for the size a weight. For me, the biggest thing this would provide is the live tracking when I am doing trail runs. It’s small enough that I wouldn’t notice it like my phone, but would still be able to update my wife to my whereabouts if something were to happen, like twisting my ankle far from the closest road. I’d be more than happy to pay double the cost of a typical GPS watch if it had 3G built in for this purpose.

    • MLC

      @ekutter,

      The core does have the ability to send an emergency SMS to a contact with your GPS information if you are in trouble. It’s what makes this useful and a good safety measure if you run alone. It requires that you have a sim and cell service, but that’s to be expected. To me, this was the best feature of the Core.

      Info per their official kickstarter page: link to kickstarter.com

    • Nina

      Honestly, I find this functionality a bit useless. But then again I’ve never been anywhere in Europe or the Middle East where I didn’t feel safe. But if that is a concern then popping in a payg card with 5usd on it just for that reason might be a possibility.

  12. Erik

    Ray, do you see a possibility of including Pandora in the future? I know you’re not on the Pebble team, but perhaps you know the hardware/software/legal/teaming aspects that led to them featuring Spotify over other streaming music sources.

  13. Bill

    Clarification: It’s “Android Wear”, not “Android Gear”. And, Android Wear works with both Android and iOS devices: link to lifehacker.com

  14. Rodolfo Araujo

    At this size, you could put it under you saddle or even inside the frame and use it as a tracking device in case your bike is stollen.

  15. Alex

    Ray,
    I think the Core looks like a great device, and I am seriously considering supporting it. I do have one question for clarification: You mentioned that the core would not be able to connect with bluetooth smart sensors initially, but you seemed to indicate that it would have the capability to do so via an app; am I interpreting this correctly? The reason I ask is that I backed another Kickstarter project, the FitPal, and it (in theory) will be able to connect via ANT+ and bluetooth smart. If Pebble decides not to implement ANT+, will I be able to connect that sensor to Core via an app using bluetooth smart?

    Also, did you back FitPal? If so, have you had any contact with them? I think this project has great potential, but after being burned by AmpStrip I am eager/desperate for any news that this company will be able to produce what they promise. I consider you the most learned voice in the land on this sort of topic, so any/all news from you is appreciated!

    Thank you for such an amazing website. I never make any sports-tech related purchase without first getting your opinion, and then only purchase via Clever Training or Amazon.

    Thanks,
    Alex

    • The Core hardware will allow 3rd parties to use the native Android Bluetooth stack for connectivity. Out of the box at launch though, the Core won’t connect to sensors using its run tracking app. Meaning, you’d need to use another app on the Core to connect to sensors.

      I did not back FitPal, though I did briefly trade e-mails with them some time ago. After some brief e-mails, I never heard back again from them (despite repeated e-mails to them).

    • Alex

      Ray,
      Thanks so much for the reply. I am sorry to hear that FitPal did such a poor job in their communications with you. That makes my confidence in them drop quite a bit. As you are my guru for all things sports tech, would you be willing to do a review of the product when/if it ever ships?

      Thanks for all of the amazing work you do!

      Alex

    • Yup, would definitely do a review down the road. Either once released, or if they get me a unit.

  16. Matthew B.

    Any idea on the brand/technology behind Pebble’s optical HR? I’m assuming not Mio or Valencell or it would have been mentioned.

  17. a_ro

    My first thought on the Core: so many features – but why not also integrate an optical HR monitor directly and wear it like a strap (like the scosche rhythm+). That would make it a complete device at least for runners (though the ANT+ ability would open a much broader audience).

  18. Pax

    I think it would make sense to list the planned pricing once the Kickstarter is over

    Pepple Core – $99…. kickstarter @69,75,79
    Pepple 2 – $129….. kickstarter @99,109
    Pepple time 2 – $199… kickstarter@169

    Ray – The other item which you have mentioned before is that GPS is a lot harder then just buying a chip. I am sure this will work, but what are the chances that this provides the same level of precision that a Garmin or iphone does. I suspect that after the fact you clean a lot of the data up.

    Why do people keep asking you to have all their favorite features added as if the deal isn’t already a super awesome value without that additional $50 requirement.

    • Good call, I’ll add the final prices in.

      I agree, GPS is a tougher nut to crack than people thing in terms of hardware design (antenna placement is massively important as Garmin and Suunto can both attest to…for better or worse). But, software smoothing is too. I suspect that may be why the timelines are what they are. It gives them time to get it right (hopefully). Though, the gap of not using a GLONASS chipset is a bit worrying. Not hugely worrying, but then again, at that price point you eventually have to cut corners.

      Which dives into your next point – adding more hardware features. Software features are easy (especially long term), but hardware features cost real hard cash now (versus dev time later, or ‘free’ dev time if via 3rd parties). And every chipset change costs money. Some are worth it, for expandability, while others just don’t drive market share.

  19. Alex

    Do you know if we can use offline mode in spotify in the Core?

    • Dave

      Yes, you don’t have to use the 3G modem at all. The core has wifi and can download data for playing offline. I plan on using mine without 3G (I kickstarted a core and a Pebble Time 2 to replace my Pebble Time).

  20. David

    I don’t think many of you, including DC are actually thinking about how much it would cost to stream over 3G. It would require a separate SIM and pre or post paid plan with data. To give you an idea:

    Spotify Normal Quality Streaming – 345 MB per hour

    If you run 3x a week, an hour at a time, that’s about 1 GB. Do that for a month and that’s 4 GB.

    Here’s one example of pricing – link to androidauthority.com

    Some $45 plans only give you 3GB. Can you really afford to pay your $80 phone bill plus another $45? This might be great for people who live in countries other than the US where they supposedly have great cell phone plans. I don’t see most people in the US finding paying an additional $50 a month attractive.

    • Mike Richie

      I agree that the big question here is 3G data costs, however I think you are being a bit pessimistic. From this site : link to verizonwireless.com
      the first I googled, it says audio streaming is 60mb/hr, closer to what I would have expected.
      Also, right now, on my iPad Pro I am using a plan of 10 Gb for 3 months for $10 plus 200mb free for life from T-mobile. I strongly suspect that cell phone companies will price plans for devices like this in a more affordable range (particularly for sharing your existing data plans). Finally, even if this doesn’t currently allow downloaded music, there is nothing stopping that given it is an android device. The efficient way to do that would be to download on first play and then playback from a cache after verifying DRM, so the user just plays what they want, but the software minimizes data usage. Eventually, playlists wouldn’t use hardly any data. Lots of ways this could work.

    • David

      With all due respect Mike, let’s do some simple math here. You think it only uses 60 mb per hour of streaming? Spotify Normal quality is 96 kbps. You are suggesting you are going to stream at 16.6 kbps

    • profanum429

      96kbps * 60 * 60 = 345600 kilobits in an hour, divided by 8 gives 43200 kilobytes for an hour, or roughly 43.2 megabytes in an hour. That’s at the normal audio quality for mobile according to Spotify.

    • Mike Richie

      I believe David confused kbps (kilobits per second) with KB (kilobytes). Easy mistake. You can actually stream video (very compressed and kind of lossy) at 250 MBs per hour.

    • David

      You guys are totally correct, I made a simple but important mistake in my calculation. So my follow up question: at 40MB an hour, 120MB a week and 480MB a month, would people be willing to pay for a separate phone/data plan to enable their Core for streaming?

    • Matthew B.

      Paying an additional $10-15/month to add a line to my plan doesn’t seem that unreasonable to have Spotify streaming, SOS capabilities, live tracking, etc..

    • Kristof

      Indeed, streaming would probably work best on an unlimited data plan, which many of us might not have, but a neat trick the Core has is that it can download (and probably automatically update) Spotify playlists, just like the Spotify app on your phone (if you have Spotify Premium membership). Since the Core have wifi and it doesn’t need 3G to function, you could sync you music at home, 4 GBs of music should be enough for a workout.

    • David

      @Kristof – I am curious why you and some others continue to believe that Spotify offline playlists will be supported. Trust me, I hope that’s the case but even Pebble themselves say this is not a feature (yet). I just want to clarify that you and I are not talking about simply copying or dragging over MP3 files to the Core. You are specifically talking about Spotify Offline Playlists – link to support.spotify.com

      This is a premium feature and requires a desktop or mobile client. The Core isn’t supported.

    • David

      Update – Looks like Ray is saying this is a feature for sure. I asked and they said it will probably happen. AFAIK only one other device (that is not a smart phone or desktop) has this feature. It seems like Pebble would be boasting about this feature if it were for sure, since it’s a really big deal.

  21. Chris

    Hi Ray,

    Really interesting product and great review but I have a couple of queries as to how it will work in practice.

    Do you see this as a device you set up via your phone eg Spotify play lists and strava set up, and then head out the door leaving your phone behind?

    The area I am intrigued in is if this can sync with my fenix3 and enable music control and live tracking via the connect app and the built in 3G. Do you see that working, would be great to be able to live track a full triathlon (assuming waterproofing holds up)? You touched upon it on your review but I suppose my query will depend on the ability to side load the Garmin app and have it run permanently.

    Thank again for the great reviews.

  22. gingerneil

    The core is really interesting… I’m an ipod shuffle user, but as I now subscribe to Google music on a family plan, I don’t have physical music files to get onto my shuffle! I listen mostly to podcasts while running.
    Spotify are all over this, but can I offline sync my downloaded Google play music from my phone, like you can with android wear watches? If so, I’ll be buying one for me straight away, and likely one each for my kids.
    I’m a fenix 3 owner. Control from that would be awesome, but it means I don’t give a rats ass about the core having GPS etc. However, for this price, I’d happily just have a shuffle replacement.
    How is music controlled? If I have dumb headphones, can music be stopped/skipped/selected from the two buttons?

    • Just to loop back to folks on this – I did validate with the Pebble team overnight that the Core will be able to cache Spotify music (using the internal 4GB storage). It can then be played while offline or without 3GB connectivity. This will allow you to sync/cache via WiFi, and then depart without even a SIM card.

    • Nina

      Oh, that sounds great! Does it mean that I could run the ismoothrun app from the core, display the running metrics on the watch together with the wrist HR data, and then upload everything to strava and smashrun? This really is what I’m hoping for as the watches look cool and absolutely wearable compared to most sports watches.

      Any update on GPS sampling rate? Will it be ‘smart’ or 1s?

    • In theory, yes, you could. I don’t see any obvious blockers there.

      As for sampling rate, 1s.

    • Nina

      Thanks a lot Ray. That’s really what I was hoping for. Lets hope the HR sensor works properly or that ANT+/Blueray smart will get integrated for my little Scosche.

      What all those cool sport watches are currently lacking is either a proper, slightly more formal look for the office (basically a non-sporty look).

    • gingerneil

      Would you be able to confirm with them about other streaming/caching apps ? In my case, i’m obviously thinking about Google Play Music. Thanks.
      (I’ve now backed it anyway – with all the media coverage about it being a ‘hackable device’, I’m sure solutions or alternatives will pop up quickly enough. With it being Android 5, I’d be amazed if it cant support the likes of Google Music, and hopefully even Garmin Connect to give control via the Fenix. I assume it has BTLE and not just old skool BT).

    • They talk a bit about it here: link to reddit.com

      Basically, just Spotify for now – but with sideloading you can kinda bridge the gaps.

    • That’s exactly how I though I would like to use it. Run iSmoothRun on the watch and core, connect any other BT sensors I use (stryd comes in mind) and in the end sync everything to the phone and then to the cloud… I need to start coding 🙂

    • Nina

      Please go for it! Any solution where no phone for the run is needed, or no mobile phone reception is required will be marvelous I’m sure (and I just love the look of the Time2! Well, also the original pebble, but that one certainly is too long for my wrists).

      Btw, thanks for your lovely app! Still the best one out there 🙂 Only offline mapping is really missing in my opinion.

    • David

      Oh that’s great news. I asked them last night and they said it will “probably” be supported.

  23. gingerneil

    ….. Bit more research. The early article on Slash gear mentions the ability to vnc into the Core and get a basic screen. You can then load apk apps, but there is no play store (no surprise given Google conditions for allowing that). It would be interesting to see if garmin connect could be installed – that should give the ability to control music via the Fenix 3, assuming that the OS *really is* just Android 5. It should also allow local caching ofysic using other apps such as Google play music. Unfortunately, the sticking point would be how to select music. The Fenixay allow control of basic track skipping etc, but not thinks like playlist or album selection.

  24. Tracy

    Sounds very interesting…all of it…but in particular, the tracking capability. Audax riders could use the Core to track individual progress during events. Only problem is the battery life being a bit short for anything more than 9 hours or so (if I read your report correctly). Do you know how long the wireless charging takes? I’m not familiar with the size of wireless charging tech either so that could be a deal breaker.

    Will the tracker also provide the person’s physical data alongside the location?

    • Mike Richie

      Ray said that it will get upwards of 20 hours in GPS only mode, not sure if that includes live tracking, but for really long rides you could probably hook up a charging solution.

  25. Michael Joyce

    I don’t know if Apple would allow it, but this would be a brilliant add-on to an Apple Watch. If the Apple Watch had GPS, I would have bought one by now. If the Apple Watch could use an external GPS connection from a tiny device like this, it would become a much better fitness tool.

    • TimRules

      100% agreed on that …. rumours are out there that Apple Watch 2 will have GPS & cell functionality (but then again I’m sure someone has claimed that it will fly you to Jupiter and back).

    • David Cochrane

      Not a snowball’s chance in Hell (on a hot summer’s day) that will happen I’m afraid.

  26. Ole

    So Core have the same functions as my phone. Could I have my phone provide the data to the Pebble 2? Or is that already supported by the current Pebble?

    Also any info if the Pebble 2 will support a chest strap? Would be nice if optical HR does not work well enough for my cold weather activities.

  27. RPico78

    I really like the idea of this – have a pic in my head of using this as a live GPS tracker for my dog (some products like this exist already but dont think anyone has nailed it). On long woodland runs, not unusual for my dog to disappear for 2-3 minutes (before returning to me (with me in a mild panic) with a stupid look on his face).

    Not seen anyone saying it can stream live GPS but I dont see any reason why it cant….

    • Elisheva

      Kind of a similar thought on my part, if it supported live tracking — I’d consider getting one for my 10-year-old, who is too young for a phone but likes having the freedom to bike around the neighborhood with friends and such. He’d love to have the ability to take music with him, and if I knew where he was I think I’d be even more comfortable with his added freedom (kind of a helicopter way to free range parent lol). At this price it seems like a good birthday gift for a kid in this age range. (Plus, if I wanted to get a sim card, the ability to press a button and text location is pretty awesome for a kid in this age range.) Basically I think this is yet another market, for those of us not interested in buying our tween-aged kids phones.

    • gingerneil

      A little off topic I suppose, but genuine question… My daughter is 10 this month and she’ll be getting a moto e phone. Why are you against a phone, but would support a pebble core type device?

    • Elisheva

      My son is also 10 this month. I don’t need him to have access to texting, and certainly not to smart phone abilities (web browsing, etc.). It’s just completely unnecessary for him. I also don’t want to pay for another phone on my plan. For a long time I’ve dreamed of having something with a button a kid could push that would text a parent some pre-set text, or tell a location, and this seems close to that dream. I would probably also get for my 8-year-old twins, if it were available. I don’t intend to get them phones (and even then only non-smart/data-plan phones) until they’re at least 13.

  28. Vinnie

    Is a sim card required for using GPS?

    • Vinnie

      That is great to hear! I’ve also heard that the pace, etc. will be synced to your Pebble Watch device which is good to hear, but I wonder if both the heart rate data and the GPS data will be combined into the running activity when the Core syncs with Pebble Health.

    • Kristof

      It worth noticing that getting a GPS fix without AGPS can take a while (tipically around 30 seconds, but in extreme cases, up to 15 minutes), so having some data connection (to download the AGPS data) is useful (but not required) and that data connection can be wifi.

  29. Xin Wang

    Thank you so much for your info!

    So Pebble Core can use blue tooth based heart rate monitor, such as Scosche Rhythm+? If so, it’s quite appealing!

  30. Ian Berman

    Let’s hope the Core delivers on what the MotoACTV tried to do 5 years ago.

  31. Scott

    The Core ticks so many boxes but for me the real deal breaker is not supporting 4G which is now the predominant mobile network in my country area of Australia. I’m guessing that voice activated calls with headphones might be a future feature too but I’ll wait for v2 with 4G or quite possibly another product will spring up in the mean time.

  32. Nina

    Ray, could you confirm the measurements of both the pebble2 and time2? How do they compare to the original pebble watches? (Not sure how big the original ones are as pebble lists two different sizes on their website for each watch)

  33. raven

    “I find I never bother to update the music on standalone devices, so it ends up being the same music over and over.”

    If you tend to own the music you want to listen to (rather than streaming from Spotify, etc.) and use iTunes and iPod, then using smart playlists is the way to rotate music in and out of the device. As examples, I have one playlist that is just the most recently added music to iTunes, while there’s another playlist that are songs that are rated four or five stars selected from the least recently played, so when they get played during an activity, they will get removed and replaced the next time I synced the device.

    It takes a few minutes to initially setup things the way you want, but once you do, it allows you to use an iPod nano or shuffle with fairly limited storage and not having the same music all the time. However, the push now is for streaming services, and I suspect the next generation of Apple Watch will have standalone GPS and cell data so you won’t need the iPhone and the ability to stream Apple Music like the Pebble Core will do Spotify. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple also updates iPods to allow streaming too, as the way iPods work now isn’t really coherent with their streaming service.

    • gingerneil

      Good summary. I have an ipod shuffle, as do my kids. However, we now have a Google play music family subscription, so all I can use the ipod for is older music that I bought in the past and podcasts. I’m really hoping the core can solve 2 things with its current design – it needs to support a wider variety of streaming services, and there needs to be a way of controlling it properly. I worry that relying on headphone controls will be rubbish (my current yurbuds don’t have controls….) and there is no way of navigating play lists. They should have gone for a 4 way rocker type button system like in the shuffle for music control.
      I’ve gone for a Core anyway – I’m sure it will evolve quickly, and the fact it’s running Android will hopefully result in a big support community that may work to solve these issues. Either that, or I need to start looking at Spotify!

    • Yeah, my challenge is I have a fair bit of purchased music, but I’ve kinda mostly stopped purchasing music in the last 18-24 months. Whereas most of my music listening is now just on Spotify or occasionally iTunes Radio.

  34. Spencer

    Man the Core looks great and after I almost backed the Mighty this makes the Mighty look old and overpriced. Even though I am tempted to get it, I am going to hold off and just use my Ambit 2S and my old school shuffle until they make an android wear watch designed for triathlons, basically something like the new Garmin/Suunto triathlon watches. Come on Sunnto and Garmin you know you want to get on the android wear bandwagon.

    • Hi Spencer,

      I’m a member of the Mighty team – I saw the chatter about our device and figured I’d join the conversation.

      First off, we’re excited to hear people talking about Mighty and Pebble Core. We think that Pebble’s entrance into this new category that we created is great market validation. The days of lugging your phone around during exercise are soon behind us!

      Regarding price, Mighty’s retail price will be significantly lower than Pebble Core’s. The Core also requires a paid data plan for most of its features whereas Mighty works without any additional fees. We’ll have a few nice surprise features for our users when we release in November, so we think people will find the price to be fair.

      We’re still on track to release our product in November. We love feedback and take it seriously – please keep it coming!

  35. Mike S.

    Thanks for the heads up Ray.

    I backed the core unit. I think it will be a good running accessory and hopefully it lives up to the promises.

  36. WKee

    will be looking forward to your First Look on the Pebble 2 and Core. Any indication of when this will be ?

  37. Alettou

    This is intriguing. very good idea. Keep the GPS separate so the watch can be slimmer or add more battery life and keep it the same. They have a key chain version for hackers and a clip-on version for runners, surely you can also put the clip-on version on your key chain as well? No? I run into work quite often so using it as a key chain is ideal post-run. The Spotify integration is killer. And yes I am tired of running with my phone especially as smart phones are getting bigger and bigger.

  38. Matt

    I don’t see any mention of MicroSD, any chance for that? My dream has been to find a clip on MP3 player that supports MicroSD so I can pop the card out of my phone and have my podcasts and music transfer instantly to the MP3 player.

  39. Joyce

    Can you tell me on the gram in forerunner 235 can the gym timer be set for a hour and a half. Also does the forerunner have a kickboxing app?

    Thanks

    Joyce

  40. Marcus Townsend

    Hey DC,
    I’m curious to hear a bit more about what you think are direct competitors on the market to the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2. I’d like to hear your take on the value proposition (or lack thereof) for each, particularly since you mentioned the Time 2 being a non-viable product at $199.
    Thanks

    • I think their main competition is Fitbit, the Apple Watch, and something like the original Vivoactive watch. Plus various Android Wear options. You may wonder why I’d include the Apple Watch in there – even at a higher price. Well come this fall (when the Pebble Time 2 will release), it’s planned to see the new Apple Watch. With that, I suspect the original Apple Watch will drop in price to $199 (following a common Apple pattern).

      That makes Pebble Time 2 a tough sell at $199. And against the Vivoactive (original) at/cheaper in price, it’s also tough since that has a GPS.

      But more than that – I think Pebble’s challenge is making a product that people feel is worth $199. Obviously they have apps (and geeks), but I just don’t hear a lot of folks clamoring for a higher priced Pebble Watch. I think some of the nicer band options are niche, and I suspect the core of non-Kickstarter buyers will go/aim for cheaper options. To the average consumer, Pebble isn’t known nearly as well as Fitbit. And Pebble has to find a way to appeal more to the average consumer in order to be able to grow.

      Just my two cents.

  41. Chris

    Will the GPS functionality of Core be able to log to a gpx file? I don’t want it to sync to a third party service, I just want to have access to a raw gpx file.

  42. Jharrison5

    I was very interested in the original Pebble watch but never invested in one. I have pledged for a pebble 2.

    I haven’t invested in the Core for a few reasons: my phone does everything it does (though my Nexus 6 is massive!);I prefer to enjoy running without music; I had a Timex Trail Runner with many parts – it was a pain to get them speaking to one another.

    That said… as a small device it could do a lot. The rescue text idea is good for someone like me who enjoys fell (hill/mountain) running. Live tracking would be great for safety or race tracking.

    I’m assuming that the Core could have software designed for, or added to it, that could generate run power information, relayed to the Pebble 2 watch? Similar software exists on android. Maybe for the bike too? Can it receive Bluetooth signals from cadence sensors etc?

  43. Nina

    The size chart for the two new watches is really cool, though I’d love to know how big the watches are with the lugs as they will determine whether the watches fit onto my wrist or are too big. Any idea, Ray?

  44. Daniela

    Ray, one question with regards to the different screens: can every app run on the black/white and the colour screen at the same time or would developers need to come up with two apps, or might not bother for the black/white one to start with? Any idea? I’m trying to chose the right watch for me, and while I would prefer the lighter one, if it means it will have less apps to run from the core then that’s something to consider.

  45. Alettou

    Hi Ray,

    Could you pair the core with the Fitbit blaze and use it to track your GPS instead of a telephone?

  46. Nicholas

    The core seems like a great idea but it got me thinking… is there any smartwatch in today’s market that gives audio cues but from built in speakers rather than Bluetooth headphones?
    Because if you get the core you’d have to invest in a good reliable pair of Bluetooth headphones, and if you’re like me and you hate running with headphones and only need the audio cues without the music, it would be a bit of a waste considering you could get a really good running watch for the combined price.

  47. Abbie

    I have backed the Time 2 and the Core. I am not a runner but a walker. I started out with the 2nd Fitbit before they got into wearables. When it started to die I started to research and did not want to have to wear a watch and a fitness tracker. But Fitbit did not and still do not have a wearable that you can swim with. Plus I hate using GPS on my phone. So I ended up going with the polar M400. It works very well but its a big watch and for me and has a small list of things I just don’t like about it. So I again started to research wearable fitness watches. Fitbit again still does not have a watch that can get wet and yes they do fitness tracking the best and if they had a watch that I could shower with and do dishes with I would likely go back to them but they don’t. I am liking what I see coming out of Garmin but again huge watch and not so good battery life. Yes I know now that I want a heart rate monitor on the wrist the battery life will be worse and I understand that but I want something with more than 5 days 7-10 is something I am okay with. So when I saw an article about the Pebble 2 and the Core it got my attention. First, off the watches look nice and as much as I like GPS on my watch since I am not as active as most people who own a watch like the m400 and it really is overkill for me so getting the pebble time 2 and also the core is perfect solution. If the heart rate monitor and the step count is at least half way good this product could have a chance. The downside for me when it comes to the Core is it’s all about runners. If they make it useable to walkers and even hobby bikers that would be a big plus. If this watch and the core work well I think it could sell well. Now if Fitbit finally gets there act together and makes a watch that you can wear in the pool then pebble would be in trouble but for now, they got something that could be good. Time will tell I guess.

  48. Marc

    Just a thought that might not have been addressed yet: what happens with my running etc data once I recorded a run with a pebble and core? Can I send this data to my favourite running websites or do I need to go via whatever pebble offers? And what does pebble do with this data: smoothing, resampling, changing elevation? As an example: when I upload a run to runkeeper either with their app or with ismoothrun the runkeeper websites gives me a total elevation gained of 1400m, while Strava and Smashrun only give me around 170-180m elevation gained for the same run, which is much more realistic. Thus please can you address data resampling and what will happen with it?

    • Kristóf

      The workout data will be recorded by the app of your choice (the KS video mentions Google Fit, Strava, Runkeeper, Under Armour Record and MapMyRun, more to come later, probably). The Core only provides the raw GPS data, all filtering and calculation are done inside the app. (I suspect that the difference in the elevation comes from the different calculation methods: iSmoothRun/Runkeeper might use the actual GPS elevation data (the vertical accuracy of GPS is pretty low), while Strava/Smashrun mey apply better filtering or use real terrain data.)

    • Marc

      Thanks Kristóf,
      So how do I get the data off the core then? Do I need to upload it to some kind of pebble cloud, directly to the app provider or someplace else? And will the data recorded by the app combine with the HR data? I guess those things are important to know if one considers this kit for running.

      ismoothrun/strava/smashrun seem to treat the data fairly equally. Only runkeeper, at least on ios messes it up. I don’t know why I still bother uploading there, really. Mind you, when I started running I used the runkeeper app, and when the elevation data made no sense at all (completely flat area!) I found out after lots of testing that the maps they seem to be using are poorly georeferenced for that area, and that the track partly went over the houses. Whenever that happened the elevation data was completely off.

  49. Ivo Peixinho

    Recently i did my first full Ironman and decided to play with Garmin’s Live tracking on my Forerunner 920xt. I got a Sony M4 Aqua phone with a waterproof bag (additional protection just in case) and one of those belts for bringing your cell phone while running. At the start of the race i started live tracking on the connect app and put it around my waist (inside the swimming suit).

    Result: the phone battery died before the end of the race, and before that it displayed a page saying that it was offline, according to people trying to see the info (posted on my facebook page). The bottom line is that there are too many variables and the phone is a device too big to do this if you are doing a triathlon. I was wandering if pebble is planning support on pairing with garmin watches via bluetooth and sending the live tracking info to the Garmin site.

    • Neil Riddoch

      Having the core able to sync with my Garmin to provide livetrack updates with be my usp for buying.

    • gingerneil

      I would be amazed if someone doesn’t manage to get garmin connect running. Once that’s installed, you’re half way there. Lack of user input would make it hard to navigate the app to get it tracking. You could vnc into the core to start it all up, but that’s not exactly user friendly. Maybe a custom voice command with some tasker automation driving the input steps would do it. I don’t know… But the possibilities are definitely there.

  50. Adam

    Did you get a chance to try out the GPS much? If you have a Core and a Pebble watch, does any GPS information render on the watch? (such as speed, distance, track log map)

    If that’s not going to be built-into the software, I assume it’ll be easy to create apps for that sort of functionality (due to it being an open platform), but I’m curious what it’ll be able to do out-of-the-box.

  51. Alex Hemke

    Have you seen the new watches or cube yet? I backed them and have been looking for reviews.

  52. Jeff

    Any new News on these?

  53. Been wondering about the Pebble 2 for continuous, 24×7 HR monitoring.

    Back when he wrote these initial thoughts, Ray said:

    “On the optical HR sensor update rates, during 24×7 mode, the unit will sample at a reduced rate that’s still being decided (considering allowing the user to control rate), while during workouts it’ll record at every second.”

    Looks like the official decision has been made and the reduced rate to monitor heartrate in 24×7 mode is… once every 10 minutes:

    link to help.getpebble.com

    “The Pebble 2 and Time 2 will use optical heart rate monitors that will monitor heart rate constantly during a workout. When at rest or sleeping, heart rate will be monitored every 10 minutes, ensuring your resting heart rate is monitored with little to no battery life impact.”

    If “rest” means any time it’s not a workout, it’s in line with Apple Watch but very slow compared to Fitbit devices which, according to Ray, record heart rate data at intervals of 5 seconds (but update every second):

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    “The Fitbit Blaze follows in the footsteps of both the Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR, in terms of doing 24×7 monitoring of your heart rate. It does this at constant-on every second, which is recorded at 5-second intervals (1-second for workouts). Aside from the Basis Peak (every second all times), this is one of the highest recording rates in the industry.”

    At the same time, if Pebble really means that there are three distinct rates (workout, rest, and normal), maybe there’s hope to get more data.

    And maybe, as Ray said, there’ll be way for Pebble users to change this update rate. If so, it’ll be interesting to see how large the drop in battery life can be.

    Now, you may say that none of this matters much because continuous HRM is about patterns in very broad strokes. After all, the accuracy of these devices is often called into question (and Ray keeps reminding everyone that it doesn’t matter much if you want to look at trend lines). But it’s still an important consideration as we compare those devices.

    Did preorder a Pebble 2 on their online store (i.e., haven’t backed the Kickstarter campaign). Crossing my fingers to get the unit before the end of the return policy for my Fitbit Blaze.

    • Fredric Luthman

      I’m “over” phones when I’m exercising or just enjoying life in general. I do however like to listen to audiobooks from Audible.

      I really hope that it will be possible to listen to audiobooks on the Pebble Core with Alexa control, that would be a dream come true!

      In fact, if Audible manages to put out an app for Apple Watch with offline cache I would buy an Apple Watch. I might even buy an Android Wear device if the same functionality was available there.

      Before I became Audible exclusive I used Creative Muvo N200 and then Sandisk Sansa Clip to listen to mp3 audiobooks so the Core’s clip form factor is very appealing and familiar.

      I think more and more people are getting tired of being tethered to their phones.

    • gingerneil

      Dont forget you can import audible books onto an ipod shuffle via itunes. I mostly listen to music on hard sessions, and audible books / podcasts on longer runs.
      The clip form-factor is perfect for me and the ipod shuffle has served me well. I’m really interested to see what the core can do though, and will loo forward to receiving mine.

    • Interesting usage pattern! We can only hope that Pebble will make this.

      As a non-runner, been ok with carrying a phone in all circumstances (including at the gym, while biking, etc.). But it’s clear that the smartphone form factor is far from ideal in many situations, including running (or biking, etc.).

      Among other approaches to smartwatches, there’s the idea of having everything in the watch itself, including cellular data and storage space. Makes for a bulky device to wear on one’s wrist and some of those who promised them never delivered (looking at you, Neptune Hub!). But there’s a reason this “vapourware” is so compelling. We want to do more without having to use a 3.5″ or bigger screen that we hold in our hand.

      So let’s hope Pebble delivers on the promise.

  54. Sal

    Hi Ray
    What do you think about peeble been taken over by fitbit?
    Is this the end for the Core Pebble 2 ?
    Greetings! Sal

    • Still a bit undecided. On one hand, it’s certainly good for Fitbit. On the other hand, short-term it’s probably not ideal for Pebble folks.

      But I think that longer term Pebble would have had a tough time battling Garmin/Fitbit/Apple/Samsung/Android Wear, and even the likes of Polar and others – especially as they pushed more towards fitness.

      I’m hopeful that if Fitbit does acquire, that they’ll move forward with products, especially the Core. I think that’s a product that would actually fit very well into the Fitbit ecosystem and help differentiate them. It’d potentially be a huge selling point.

    • gingerneil

      I’ve got high hopes for the Core – but its been a while since we’ve had a Kickstarter update. Hope that isn’t bad news… the promised delivery date is approaching fast!

    • Alex

      Do you know of any possible alternatives to the core? I want something with GPS and Bluetooth music capabilities, I don’t even want/need a screen. As far as I can tell no device exists that has those features.

    • Mighty is exactly what you’re looking for. You can pre-order now at http://www.bemighty.com.

  55. Dave

    Well dang it…just got an email from Pebbles, it’s official that from now they will cease operations except as part of Fitbit.

    Looks like the Kickstarter Pebble Core is no longer coming…at least in its present form. Maybe Fitbit will introduce it later on…

  56. Mighty is the only alternative for taking your streaming music offline without a phone. You can pre-order one today at http://www.bemighty.com. We’re shipping in February.

    • gingerneil

      Hi Anthony. Great to see you on here. A few questions about the Mighty…
      I dont use Spotify – I note the details suggest otjher streaming services will be considered in the future, but thats jam tomorrow. I currently subscribe my whole family to Google Play Music and dont really want another subscription.
      Battery life – currently 5hrs!? I will use wired headphones and not BT – would this therefore give a better battery life ? I run marathons and ultras, and a typical training week is about 45 miles – an hour or more a day. I just *know* I would end up forgetting to charge the Mighty far too often if its only lasting 5 hours. I have the same issue with my heart rate monitor, and that Rhythm+ lasts about 10 hours… I currently use an iPod shuffle, and the battery on that seems to last forever!
      Can I sync my own music and podcast files ? I dont think the DCR podcast is on spotify – how would I get that onto a Mighty ?
      (as an aside – I backed the core for $84, and the Mighty is preording for $84! Handy… although without lots of things like GPS, 3G connection etc that was promised for the Core).

    • Dave

      Ditto…I was/am in the market for a small, long-lasting music/MP3 player. At this point, I might just got pick up a Apple Shuffle. I don’t stream music and don’t want to be tethered to a phone (in order to load songs).

      Mighty looks interesting, but the battery life and inability to upload MP3’s is a deal breaker for me.

      The Pebble Core’s additional functionalities, in addition to the music mode, was what really made it a “want” for me. Maybe someone will pick up the ball from here and launch it later on…fingers crossed.

    • gingerneil

      My issue is that I just dont have the music files any more…. podcasts are easy to grab from libsyn etc, but music is all streamed so I need something that will support those services offline. Is it possible to add you own files to spotify and then sync them over ?

    • Hi everyone,

      Thanks for your interest in Mighty. I’ll try to address all questions here:

      – Yes, Mighty will work with Spotify Premium. Google Music won’t be supported upon launch but it’s near the top of our roadmap. We plan on integrating new services in Q1 next year.
      – Current battery life is 5 hours but we believe that we can achieve 6.5 hours by the time we launch. The reality is that streaming music playback (even if offline) is a power hungry process; Pebble never actually developed Core so their battery life estimates clearly weren’t tested. Our product is fully functional and tested. We’re working directly with Spotify to improve streaming music power consumption. Our battery life will continue to improve over time via software updates (no new hardware needed).
      – Yes, Mighty will support local files. We’re actively working on this functionality and hope to have it ready in time for launch. It’s also worth noting that local files are not as power hungry as streaming files, so battery life will be better for this type of playback.
      – Similar to Pebble Core, we initially offered Mighty via Kickstarter for a discounted price (as low as $64). We’re now beyond Kickstarter and only offering Mighty for the true retail price of $84.99. Core’s retail price was supposed to be $99.99 and you would have had to pay your cell phone provider a monthly fee for the 3G connectivity. Mighty is cheaper and has no recurring fees.

      I’m happy to answer any other questions. Thanks again!

    • gingerneil

      Many thanks. The local files and other streaming services were my main concerns…
      The operation of the device looks much better than what pebble were offering, more closely aligned to an ipod shuffle and easier to use when running. I’m almost sold… Any coupon or voucher codes you could share to finally convince me!? 😉

    • Kristóf

      Hey Anthony,

      While I understand that you are happy to see the Core not happening, please stick to the facts: The Core would have NOT require a cellular data plan, it would’ve been an extra option for those who would’ve wanted to stream music over 3G (which the Mighty is not capable of) or would’ve wanted to sync their workouts. (Oh, speaking of which, can the Mighty do fitness tracking? No. Does the Mighty have a GPS unit? No. Can I say that the Core would’ve worth that extra $15?)
      Also, you might want fix your FAQ on your website regarding battery capacity as it currenty says “At least 12 hours of continuous playback, but we’re hoping to increase that to 18.”, which seems to be a bit misleading if “believe that [you] can achieve 6.5 hours by the time [you] launch”. (Which launch IIRC, was supposed to happen last month.)

    • gingerneil

      I suppose that comparison is pointless now…. The core never happened, and it may never happen. Time will tell.
      For now, the Mighty is the only game in town.

  57. Anthony Mendelson

    Kristof,

    I can’t speak to the exact Core functionality because the product was never made. And you’re correct, this version of Mighty does not have GPS. I also can’t speak to how each individual values the addition of fitness tracking, but we definitely see the benefit of eventually integrating those features into our product.

    Good catch on the FAQ, that will be fixed.

    Thanks for the healthy discussion!