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Smartwatch maker Pebble rolls out SDK and iOS upgrades

Pebble on Wednesday 6 November announced the full integration of its smartwatch with Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system, and released the second version of its software development kit (SDK) for creating Pebble apps for iOS and Android.

The smartwatch startup now has some 10,000 developers in a burgeoning ecosystem that's sprung up since Pebble ran its record-setting funding campaign on Kickstarter in early 2012, according to Pebble's Eric Migicovsky. Pebble shipped its first watches to its Kickstarter backers in July 2012 and has moved nearly 200,000 units to date.

In fact, the startup has had trouble keeping up with demand from customers in recent months despite increased competition in the growing smartwatch market from the likes of Samsung and Sony.

The good news for would-be Pebble owners is that the startup now has plenty of product in stock, Migicovsky said. Pebble watches can be purchased for $149.99 (around £95) in Pebble's online store with free worldwide shipping.

The iOS 7 integration means Pebble users with watches synced to their iPhones will be able to get smartphone notifications sent to their smartwatches.

"This includes notifications beyond calls, texts, and emails, such as Calendar, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, Dropbox, WhatsApp, Flipboard, and more," Migicovsky said.

That notification push is driven by the iPhone. For now, notifications will be sent to both the phone and the Pebble. There is no option to have some notifications show up on the Pebble but not the phone, for example, but such customisation capabilities could be added in the future, according to Migicovsky.

Pebble's SDK 2.0 includes four new APIs, including a Javascript programming interface, enabling the creation of apps compatible with iOS and Android without the need for compilers. The second iteration of Pebble's software development platform also grants access to a couple of chips included in the first run of Pebble watches that had not yet been turned on, Migicovsky noted.

Developers can now build apps that use the smartwatch's accelerometer and its Bluetooth low energy (LE) radio, which Pebble decided to turn on after making sure the watch wouldn't take a big battery life hit with those parts running, Migicovsky said. Pebble watches typically last for five to seven days between charges.

Pebble watches already use Bluetooh 2.1 to sync with smartphones, but Bluetooth LE offers up some new avenues for developers to create apps for the device, Migicovsky said. For example, the startup worked with action camera maker GoPro on an app that beams the Hero 3's recording status to the Pebble.

In addition, the company's SDK 2.0 now enables temporary data logging and "persistent" storage of data on the watch. With temporary data logging, a fitness app could log information on the watch when it's not synced with a smartphone, then shoot it over to the phone later and wipe it from the watch. Pebble is pitching its new persistent storage capabilities for preserving game scores and settings.

For the rundown on what we thought of the Pebble Smartwatch, check out our review here.