Pebble, the startup that makes a smartwatch of the same name, announced Tuesday that its new watch with a colour screen will go on sale in May.
Pre-orders started immediately through Kickstarter, and the company raised $US1 million within an hour. (Most of those were likely pre-orders at $US159 apiece for the first 10,000 backers. The Pebble Time normally costs $US199.)
By early afternoon Tuesday, Pebble had over 24,000 backers and raised over $US5 million. As Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin tweeted, that’s pretty impressive for a gadget that won’t be available until May.
Pebble’s success on Kickstarter Tuesday is further proof that consumers are hungry for a viable smartwatch. In fact, Pebble first got its start on Kickstarter over two years ago when it raised over $US10 million, proving there’s enough interest out there for big tech companies to start taking the concept seriously. Pebble went on to sell 1 million watches over two years, making it the most successful company in the business.
The Apple Watch launch is going to be even bigger.
Pebble’s big day is good news for the Apple Watch, which will go on sale in April. The Apple Watch will start at $US349, $US250 more than the Pebble Time, but it can also do a lot more, looks a lot better (the Pebble Time looks like a plastic toy), and will have Apple’s deep pockets behind it for advertising and marketing.
If a tiny startup like Pebble can generate this much buzz over a lackluster smartwatch, imagine what Apple will be able to do two months from now. This is going to be massive.
Plus, there are already hints Apple knows it has a hit on its hands.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has ordered an initial shipment of 5 million Apple Watches for the launch in April. Most of those will be the $US349 “Sport” model, the cheapest of the bunch. Some speculate that the “Edition” model of the Apple Watch, which is made out of gold, could cost as much as $US10,000.