Crowd-funded Pebble smart watch gets regulatory approval

Despite a few setbacks since its summer unveiling, the Pebble Smartwatch this week took a positive step forward with the device's approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

The smart watch, which displays information from iOS and Android phones via Bluetooth, was expected to ship in September. That, however, was before the smartphone-connected watch hit Kickstarter, earned $10 million (£6 million), and racked up 85,000 orders. As a result, Pebble said in July that shipments would be delayed. At the time, the company said they would be released "as soon as possible," but it has yet to settle on a final release date.

Now with FCC approval, Pebble has one less hurdle to jump before eventually mailing its product to the thousands who supported the startup's efforts.

Despite missing the September deadline, Pebble said it was still on track to "go from manufacturing zero to 15,000 Pebbles per week."

"Our first timetable was created before we launched on Kickstarter, when we were expecting to manufacture just 1,000 Pebbles," the company explained. The Pebble team had to limit pre-orders to 85,000 by the close of its Kickstarter campaign on 18 May.

Pebble isn't alone in its failure to meet its target shipment date, though. This month, CNNMoney found that a whopping 84 per cent of the top 50 most funded Kickstarter projects missed their expected delivery dates.

Of those 50 projects, only eight met their original deadlines, 16 hadn't shipped yet, while the remaining 26 managed to get product out but often months late.

Many, CNNMoney reported, did not expect to earn as much money or generate as many orders on Kickstarter as they did, requiring them to produce more and delay shipping - the same predicament in which Pebble finds itself.

Pebble's FCC approval came amidst rumours that Apple plans to build a Bluetooth-equipped smart watch in 2013. According to Chinese site TGbus.com, Intel is designing a 1.5in OLED device that, when connected to an iOS device, can answer calls and follow through on other commands.

ITProPortal will be attending CES 2013 next week, where we'll be meeting with Pebble and with competing smart watch startup I'm Watch. Stay tuned for all the latest news from the smart watch and consumer electronics worlds.