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Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 add heart sensors, and Pebble Core stands in for your phone

Jason Cipriani | May 25, 2016
Pebble's new watches get serious about fitness, and the Core lets you leave your phone behind when you work out, with 3G, GPS, and storage onboard.

After a pair of successful Kickstarter campaigns—two of the most successful campaigns of all time—Pebble is launching three products with its third Kickstarter campaign starting Tuesday.

Two of the new products are, naturally, smartwatches: Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2. However, the real news is Pebble’s first product that’s not a watch. Pebble Core is a small, unassuming square made of plastic that adds more capabilities to your Pebble Watch, standing in for a smartphone’s GPS, cellular connectivity, and storage when you want to leave your phone behind.

Next-gen Pebble smartwatches

Adding to the company’s newfound focus on fitness applications, the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are equipped with heart rate sensors. The heart monitor will record your heart rate every 10 minutes, unless you begin a workout on the watch, or it automatically detects you’re running or walking, after which it will continuously record your heart rate until you’ve finished.

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Pebble 2. Credit: Pebble

We’ve watched as Pebble has progressed from a company with a focus on fine-tuning its smartwatch experience, to rapidly improving upon the fitness features of its watches. Heart rate monitoring was the next logical step.

I recently sat down with Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky to get a look at the company’s new wares. During our time, he also walked me through a new software feature that will debut alongside the watches.

The most notable software change revolves around what Pebble is calling Actions. The company found that people didn’t want to click through menus and apps in order to do something as simple as order an Uber, or begin composing a text to a loved one. With the new software, when you press the up button, the watch will immediately display a series of actions. Highlight the task you want to complete, press the middle button, and you’re done. You can set up actions within the Pebble app. Sticking with Pebble’s previous promise to support older products, the new software will also be available for current Pebble Time watches.

Pebble 2 hits on all the same points as previous-generation devices: Battery life of about a week, water resistance up to 30 meters, iOS and Android compatibility, and a microphone for voice interaction. It will be available in five colors, is priced at $99 during the Kickstarter campaign, and will begin shipping in September. Retail pricing for Pebble 2 will be $129.

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Pebble Time 2. Credit:Pebble

Pebble Time 2 eliminates one issue I’ve long had, but accepted as just something I had to deal with: screen size. With Time 2, Pebble kept the body of the watch the same size and shape as the Time Steel, but increased screen size by 50 percent. And thanks to better backlight technology and a bonded display, it’s easier to view indoors than the previous model. I briefly used a Time 2 last week, and can say the display looks much better than the Time’s display.

 

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