If you take a visit to crowdfunding site Kickstarter today you'll see a familiar company there: Pebble. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is back on Kickstarter to announce its new smartwatch called the Pebble Time.
At first you'll notice that Pebble Time has a different look than the original Pebble or Pebble Steel. It comes with a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass front cover and a stainless steel bezel around the frame. It also is about 20 percent slimmer than the original Pebble, co-founder Eric Migicovsky tells Entrepreneur.
Pebble Time comes in black, white and red versions.
Features-wise, two things stand out on the Pebble Time. First is the color e-paper display. Until now, Pebble smartwatches featured black and white e-paper displays. Even with the addition of color, though, Pebble Time will still have a five- to seven-day battery life, Migicovsky says.
Another big addition is the microphone, allowing Pebble Time owners to speak responses to messages directly over the smartwatch. A "voice note" tool also allows people to record short audio notes and reminders.
"These features were designed for busy people who want to be able to respond to messages without taking out their smartphone," Migicovsky says.
Here's a look at the Pebble Time video on Kickstarter:
A departure from the previous models, Pebble Time comes as smartwatches from companies like LG and Samsung come with a bevvy of smartphone-like features, like touchscreens, cameras and speakers. While the devices sacrifice battery life for features like these, Pebble has the competition in mind, especially with the launch of the Apple Watch in the near future.
An all-new operating system
In addition to the hardware, Pebble also is unveiling some significant software changes. A new operating system called Timeline is launching today. Instead of a person opening individual apps to get information -- such as weather or traffic or sports scores -- the new OS will extract relevant information from those apps and deliver it to Pebble users in the format of a personal timeline, Migicovsky says.
"We think we've made a breakthrough that will help shift the way people interact with smartwatches," he says. "It brings all the information you need to know to your screen with just one click."
In addition to Pebble Time, the new Timeline OS will become available to owners of the original Pebble as well as Pebble Steel.
Shipping in May, the Pebble Time smartwatch will retail for $199. People who are interested can place an order now via Kickstarter for $159. In addition to getting the word out, Pebble is hoping the Kickstarter campaign will help raise at least $500,000.
Pebble, of course, launched on Kickstarter in 2012. It kicked off the current smartwatch wave, blowing past its $100,000 goal and pulling in more than $10 million from nearly 69,000 backers. As of late last year, the company had sold more than 1 million smartwatches.