Pebble, the smartwatch that raised a record-breaking $10-plus million on Kickstarter, first drew us in with the promise that it would intelligently prioritize the deluge of phone calls, text messages, and push notifications that had sucked the joy out of our day-to-day smartphone interactions. Leave it to us, Pebble pledged, and this bite-sized, Bluetooth-enabled watch interface will relay the important stuff straight to your wrist.
Pebble Technology has always planned to integrate custom apps that work with the watch, and today it's making good on that intention through a new partnership with RunKeeper, the popular, GPS-enabled iPhone and Android app that tracks your walking, running, and cycling activity. (Pebble's first app was a golf rangefinder by FreeCaddie.)
Through the RunKeeper integration, Pebble-sporting weekend warriors will be able to turn the Pebble watch interface into a distance, time, and pace monitor while on an exercise outing. Although the smartphone version of RunKeeper comes outfitted with a much richer set of features, and the ability to track your activity on your wrist isn't necessarily groundbreaking (between Jawbone UPs and Nike FuelBand), Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky says keeping the RunKeeper app simple will work in its favor.
"It's not a drastic change like wearing a computer on your eyeglasses or something like that," Migicovsky says, perhaps making a shot at Google Glass. "It's more of a steady, increasing amount of technology in your everyday life. I think that's how wearable computing will really fit into the mainstream."
But RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs says he can envision even more new app features that could be useful to Pebble-sporting runners and cyclists in the future.
"In the future, it wouldn't be crazy to think we could contact your friends who are around and also getting ready to go for a run, or have the RunKeeper app suggest a 5-mile route that's most popular with runners in my area," he says. "That kind of stuff would be really cool on my wrist."