In a recent article published by The Verge, Pebble’s CEO Eric Migicovsky stated that the company has sold over one million smartwatches. According to the statement, this is double what it sold between July 2013 and March 2014. While the article sees this as an increase in sales rate, it seems more like a steady stream of about 500,000 units per nine months. Pebble is reported to be planning to release new products and a software platform in 2015.
As stated by Pebble, the key to the new software platform is that it changes the current paradigm of app-based functionality. The new system will create a new interactivity. “We’ve found a new framework to use as an interaction model on the watch”, says Migicovsky.
As Pebble says, the company has hired part of the LG’s webOS TV design team to develop this new software. Migicovsky added that apps will still be available and add functions not included in the Pebble software, which raises the question what this platform will achieve. Pebble added that it currently has 6,000 apps and watch face designs on the current platform.
There was no further explanation on how the new platform will carry over these apps, or if the new software will also run on the current hardware. With Samsung selling one million plus smartwatches, Google pushing Google Wear devices and Apple coming out with its Apple Watch in April, the total number of smartwatches in circulation may double long before 2015 comes to an end.
Smartwatches, as part of the wearable segment, are poised to grow strongly as the new electronic platform in coming years. As Apple indicated in its Apple Watch announcement last year, the key to making wearables work is the human interface design. While we are used to watches telling time, we do not know how to use such a device outside of this paradigm. This aspect may be one of the issues hindering mass adoption so far. While we accepted the smartphone platform, the consumers did not necessarily care for transporting this interface to a display as small as a smartwatch. Pebble seems to agree with Apple that the interface is the key to mass adoption of the smartwatch. – Norbert Hildebrand