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Summary:

It’s been a long wait for the Pebble watch software development kit and now it’s here. Developers can start creating app for the unique smartwatch that works with both iPhones and Android handsets.

Kickstarter, Pebble
photo: Pebble

After a delay, the software development kit (SDK) for the Pebble smartwatch is now live. On Friday, the watch maker publicly released the SDK and documentation, which was originally scheduled for when the watches started shipping. This means that owners of the Pebble watch — one of the hottest KickStarter projects in 2012 with more than 68,000 backers — can soon look forward to applications for their timepiece.

In case you’re not familiar with the Pebble, here’s a quick description from the SDK page:’

“Pebble is a customizable, Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch that connects to iPhone and Android smartphones. It features a 144×168 1-bit display, a 3-axis accelerometer and a Cortex-M3 ARM microprocessor. Pebble can be customized by installing new apps developed with its Software Development Kit. The SDK allows developers of all experience levels to build Pebble-enabled applications using a number of popular programming languages and technologies.”

Developers should be able to tap into the Pebble accelerometer for their apps while also taking advantage of the sensors and data on a paired iPhone or Android device. For now, the SDK appears to support custom watch faces but will be expanded for functional applications.

RunKeeper was previously reported to be one of the first applications to work with the unique smartwatch, perhaps allowing for runners to glance at their wrist for pace, time and distance information, for example. So let’s go developers: It’s time for some Pebble watch faces!

Update: This post was updated at 3:02 pm to specify the SDK is only for watch faces at the moment.

 

  1. Melinda Venable Friday, April 12, 2013

    I’m not a developer, but I’m really excited about all the possibilities for improving public health that something like Pebble and Big Data can provide. Thanks, Kevin!

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  2. Umm, no apps yet. Just custom watchfaces. Maybe a little more research before you publish?

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    1. Theo, if the SDK just became available today, there won’t be apps yet. Developers have to get the SDK and create the apps. ;)

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      1. I know. I’m saying there won’t be any apps made with the current SDK. It is only a proof of concept SDK to create watch faces. The available resources are pretty much zero. No accelerometer, no manometer, no interface with the tethered device.

        Nothing but different looking watch faces.

        “So let’s go developers: It’s time for some Pebble apps!” is inaccurate. At best they could start making some watch faces. Apps are still at least one cycle (if not more) away from being possible.

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        1. Ah, I gotcha now. Thanks for the details. I’ll update the post to clarify.

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        2. Incorrect. Apps ARE possible with the current SDK. Games, stopwatches, timers and more have already been developed and posted along with many watchfaces since the SDK was posted a few days ago.

          There ARE limits to what the apps can do; as you point out, some features such as the accelerometer are not accessible yet. But apps ARE possible.

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  3. So this is a watchface style kit rather than a development kit.

    I am a developer.

    Several things spring to mind.
    Quite a small market for pebble apps.
    I wonder what the learning curve would be.
    Someone else will make a better watch, maybe next year.
    Even if the apple and samsung v1 products out this year aren’t “better” I would guess they will outsell pebble anyhow.

    All in all I see specialising in pebble development as a risky career move.

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  4. Dan R Gleason Monday, April 15, 2013

    I too am a developer of 20+ years. I look at Pebble as a hobby thing. Meaning, I would not stop everything I am doing to explore the SDK and make it a “career move”. But, as I am curious about all advancements in this space, I would download the SDk and tinker around with it and see if it sparks my imagination and creativity to develop something fun.
    I learn most new technologies by having fun with them. It would be reckless for me to make a career move away from developing tools and software for the financial investment world, to being a dev of Pebble apps, but it might be very cool to play around with the SDK (especially after it matures a bit) and maybe make a tool that could tell an Investment Advisor key performance metrics throughout the day. Market conditions, account movements, deposit and trade notifications, are all small bits of data that could be displayed on the watch in an inconspicuous manner not requiring the Advisor to click on a smartphone screen and navigate to screens, and logins. My assumption here is that a device this personal (on your wrist) could be considered secure enough to bypass login requirements after the first time each day (wake up, login to app, strap it on). Thereby allowing for nonchalant glances at the watch in what seems like a check f the time, to be updated on keys events.
    By playing around with and broadening my understanding on how to use Pebble, when competitors came out with their products, I would be way down the road on my apps, while others kicked themselves….Just my opinion…

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  5. Sigh. Can’t we get even marginally competent tech writers? There are two kinds of Pebble apps: http://developer.getpebble.com/1/02_Reference/01_AppsVsWatchfaces

    Only the watchface SDK is available. That means that it is not possible to write apps that respond to button presses, among other things.

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    1. Correct. Please see the update in the post that says that. Thanks!

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    2. Except that it IS possible to write apps. Games, stopwatches, etc have already been written and posted using the SDK that was just released.

      Including apps that respond to button presses, despite what you said.

      You just don’t have access to ALL the features that you eventually will.

      Looks like the tech writer was marginally competent after all, unlike the poster.

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  6. They were pressed to get the Pebble out there, so they did. The big boys have jumped on the bandwagon after seeing Pebble’s sucess on Kickstarter. The Pebble jump-started a market that was dormant. In labs of other companies there were probably experimental designs that will be rushed to market now that competitors are aware that there is a market. Let the wearable device wars begin!

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