Pebble Adds Messaging Options for Its Smartwatch Users

Updates for the Pebble Time smartphone application also add improvements to Pebble Health tracking and more.

Pebble, smartwatches, fitness trackers, Pebble Time, Pebble Health, iOS, Android, wearables

Pebble's latest Pebble Time smartphone app versions add a host of updates and improvements for controlling functions on Pebble smartwatches, giving users more options for messaging, health tracking and more.

The latest updates, which were announced by Pebble in a Feb. 3 post on the Pebble Blog, are included in the Android and iOS versions of the Pebble Time app—v3.6 for iPhone or v3.9 for Android. The new software updates Pebble watches to Firmware v3.9.

The updates for the Pebble Health step and sleep tracker now give users the ability to show their step distance in kilometers rather than just in miles, while other tweaks make the app even more accurate, according to the post.

Other key updates in the apps allow a wider range of messaging options for users, including the ability to send custom automatic responses to incoming Short Message Service (SMS) texts on iOS when using a compatible mobile carrier such as AT&T, as well as the new ability to reply to incoming calls on Android with an SMS text. The new feature allows a user to send a voice note, emoji or custom message instead of answering the phone at that moment, according to the post.

The latest apps also give users the ability to start conversations from their Pebble Time series watches with a new Send Text capability for Android.

Another new capability is that incoming Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) notifications can now show descriptive icons and any text a user wants to include with them, as well as an updated Watch-Only Mode that takes over when the battery on a user's watch gets critically low.

Even more functions and capabilities are expected in the future, thanks to a new Pebble Health API that was also just released which will allow developers to create new apps and watch faces featuring Pebble Health statistics, according to Pebble. At least one health-enabled watch face, Stride, is now available on the Pebble app store and others are expected to be added soon.

A wealth of performance, speed and stability improvements are also included in the latest Pebble firmware, according to the company.

The Pebble Health tracking app debuted in December as the first native app for health tracking information for wearers. In the past, Pebble smartwatch users had to use their devices with third-party health tracking apps to keep abreast of their calories burned, distance covered and more. The app is available for the Pebble Time, the Time Steel and the Time Round smartwatches.

Pebble Health is a fully native activity tracking app that integrates with the timeline feature in the company's watches. The app and its capabilities were developed in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University to track a user's daily activity and automatically detect their sleep phases. The app gives users information about how much sleep time they receive, as well as a report at the end of the day about how many steps they took.

The app keeps track of a user's daily steps and measures them against their daily average, according to Pebble, while also providing weekly graphs of step and sleep stats so users can see their trends over time. It is compatible with Google Fit and Apple HealthKit so that users can use it side by side with other apps they might already be using.