Pebble on Tuesday announced its first non-smartwatch device, called the Core.
It’s the best thing the company has come out with yet.
In fact, it’s the best device any company has come up with for people who want to listen to Spotify music and track their workouts without bringing along their smartphones.
The Core is a small $69 device that clips onto your clothing. It has built-in GPS so you can track your distance and pace, as well as step tracking.
So, it’s a fitness tracker, but it’s also a music player. The Core comes with 4GB of on-board storage so you can sync between 500 to 1,000 Spotify songs and playlists (depending on track length and music quality), and you can either plug in a wired headphone or use a pair of wireless headphones, since the Core comes with Bluetooth. And that’s amazing.
If you’ve ever gone out for a run with your smartphone, you’ll know how uncomfortable and awkward it is to bring it along. Most people don’t need all the horsepower and functionality of a smartphone for fitness tracking and listening to music, which are arguably the only two features you need on a run. It’s like using an off-road Jeep with chunky tires that’s hard to park for buying milk at the store down the road.
But Core isn’t just limited to workouts. It can play your Spotify playlists any time you don’t want to bring your smartphone along. Indeed, the most portable device you can use to play Spotify music right now is your smartphone, and that’s surprising considering how popular music streaming services like Spotify have become.
So far, the closest thing we’ve seen to Pebble’s Core is a Kickstarter project called Mighty. Like the Core, the Mighty device syncs with your Spotify Premium playlists and lets you listen to your music without your smartphone. Yet, the Mighty doesn’t have any fitness tracking features like the Core does.
Aside from that, Pebble’s new Core will have wireless charging and it will connect to a 3G network so you can use a basic function from an app, like calling an Uber to your location. And if you’re in a sticky situation, you can send out an SOS to emergency services to your location, too.
It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close
The Core isn’t without limitations. For one, it doesn’t have a heart-rate monitor, and it doesn’t have a display to show you real-time data while you’re out on your run. You’ll have to pair the Core with Pebble’s new smartwatches that now come with built-in heart rate monitors to check your heart rate and distance/pace data in real-time.
Or you just wait until you get home to sync is with your favourite fitness app on your smartphone.
For those who need real-time heart-rate monitoring and data and GPS, there are smartwatches out there that are better suited for the job, like the TomTom Spark, Adidas miCoach, and Timex Ironman One GPS+. They also have on-board storage for music files, but none of these can sync your Spotify playlists like the Core can.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait quite a while for the Core to be released. Pebble claims the Core will begin shipping in early 2017, which is months away. The Core is up for pre-order now on Kickstarter for $69. But we love this idea and we’re excited to see if it lives up to its potential.
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