I want a Pebble, but not for any of its built-in features

The Pebble smartwatch should be out in a couple of months, and while I never pledged for one, I’ve known from the start that it’s a device I want. However, I don’t want it for any of the features it ships with. Sure, notifications, email, caller ID, and all those things are nice to have, but what I really want is for is to hook it into my own DIY systems.

By DIY systems, I of course mean the setup I have right now with Tasker. I want the ability to enable pre-set timers and alarms from the watch, view my shopping list on the watch when I’m outside (but only when I’m outside), get weather updates from local providers, control my PC, and many other things. These are all things I have systems set up for right now, and I just hope that the Pebble’s promise of “customize by coding” allows me to hook it up to those systems. I want full control over the screen and the buttons, without having to learn how to program anything from scratch. Many devices promise to have SDKs available to them, but when it comes to the Pebble, I hope that it also comes with a more user friendly way of communicating with the device, or that plugins for Tasker, Locale, and similar apps become available.

My biggest fear is that the Pebble is going to be like an Apple product: something that works well for the things it does, but doesn’t really do everything it could. The Pebble does support iOS, and that scares me a bit in that it might end up being downgraded to a common denominator for the two OSes. There are simply so many things out there that Android can do but iOS can’t that I really hope that the Android side of the Pebble doesn’t end up suffering for it the multi-platform support.

The Pebble is also not the first smartwatch out there, and while there exists software to do what I want for less famous smartwatches, it never took off like (I’m guessing) the manufacturers of those products hoped. This is a relatively new product category, one that I think will become big, and I’m curious to see what sort of reception in developer circles. I cherish the idea of being able to lie in bed and control the media player on my PC from the Pebble by using Unified Remote’s new URI system, but if the only thing I’ll be able to do is control my phone’s music player that way, they can keep the thing.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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