CES 2013: Pebble smartwatch to ship later this month

Pebble Smartwatch backers, who have waited patiently through the company’s summer delays, are finally getting what they paid for on 23 January.

CEO Eric Migicovsky today announced that the smartphone-compatible watches will begin shipping in two weeks, taking about six to eight weeks to reach all 69,000 Kickstarter backers.

“This is the culmination of this eight-month-long Kickstarter project, and we’re extremely proud of the way that it turned out,” Migicovsky said today during Pebble’s CES press conference.

Branded the most successful Kickstarter project to date, the Pebble watch is in mass-production at a rate of 15,000 units each week, the CEO said. Once all backer orders are fulfilled, the company will begin shipping to the many pre-order customers.

Compatible with smartphones running Google’s Android 4.0-or-higher operating system or Apple’s iOS 5 and 6, the device opens the door for third-party developers to build accompanying apps that can be accessed on the watch via a mobile device.

Using Bluetooth software, iOS and Android users (not BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, or Palm owners yet) can receive notifications of incoming calls, texts, emails, calendar alerts, social media messages, and weather alerts on the 1.26in e-paper screen.

Migicovsky showed off the watch’s features during a live CES demonstration (during which the streaming video turned the CEO blue, and misrepresented the watches’ individual colours), explaining how to receive texts, read emails, check the time, and even control music on the partnered phone.

The Pebble Smartwatch made Kickstarter history in April, when the company raised more than $3.5 million (£2.2 million) in one week, crushing their goal to gather $100,000 (£62,325) during the total 40-day funding period. By May, Pebble was forced to stop taking orders after pre-selling 85,000 devices.

But, like many other Kickstarter projects, the smartwatch’s first shipment was delayed this summer. Initially expected to ship in September, the company had to hold off once it racked up $3.4 million (£2.1 million) more in orders than expected.

Pebble made great strides late last month, though, when it earned approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

To get your own Pebble Smartwatch, visit the company’s website to pre-order the $150 (£94)device in one of five colours.

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