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.
Pebble Adds Messaging Options for Its Smartwatch Users
The latest Pebble Time Round smartwatch went on sale in November for $249 as the company’s first round fashion smartwatch following a string of four popular rectangular smartwatch models over the last several years. The watch includes a 14mm or 20mm wide band and comes in silver or black finishes, along with a wide range of leather band colors and styles. A special-edition rose-gold finish is available only with a 14mm band.
The Pebble Time Round features a battery life of up to two days, 15-minute quick charging that provides one day’s use, splash resistance, an always-on color display, a built-in microphone for replying to messages, a marine-grade stainless-steel chassis and bezel, and tactile buttons for easier control of its functions. The watch face is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance.
Also in October, Pebble added new health- and fitness- tracking capabilities to its original Pebble smartwatch and dropped its price to $99 from its previous $150 price tag, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The upgrades include new non-stop activity tracking and sleep monitoring.
In early August, Pebble unveiled its Pebble Time Steel model, which features a stainless steel body that’s available in three different colors, starting at $249.99.
The Pebble Time Steel is a variant of the company’s Pebble Time smartwatch that was unveiled in June, which includes a stainless-steel bezel and a non-metal body. The Pebble Time Steel is available with a 22mm-wide Italian leather watchband for $249.99 or with a stainless steel band for $299.98.
The Pebble devices work with compatible iOS and Android smartphones, although not all iOS notification features will work. They work with Apple’s iPhone 4S and above running iOS 8, and with all Android devices running Android 4.0 and above.
The company’s smartwatches are also built with protection against water damage and can be worn in the shower, in swimming pools or during outdoor activities in inclement weather. They have water resistance to 98.4 feet, or about 30 meters, according to Pebble.