Pebble: two weeks later

Wearable tech: I’m in.

Two weeks ago, in my first of no doubt many Pebblewatch posts, I mentioned that I was still very much in ‘calibration’ mode. Meaning that I was still working out how and what it needed to alert me to the different things going on on my handset.

I’m fully aware that I am very much in calibration mode with this thing at the moment. Each person, each device, and each experience is different. Some people like a lot of alerts, some people don’t.

Slowly but surely I’m working out the hierarchy of what I need and what I don’t (SMS’s? Notify me. Instagram comments and likes? Don’t notify me). And when that process is complete, I think I’m going to enjoy owning this Pebble device very, very much.

That phase is now over (in fairness it was over in less than a week) and I can happily report that my prediction was correct: I am enjoying this Pebble and am fully appreciating the passive content consumption device that the Pebble really is. Almost like a mini personal assistant, it fields incoming alerts from my phone so I don’t have to. I choose when I pick my phone up, not the other way around; Reminding me that the phone is there for MY convenience NOT everyone else’s.

What else is good?

Battery life. This is two fold.

1) The watch battery is pretty impressive. The first week was Thursday through Monday with a whole ton of ‘look at me, look at my cool watch’ usage. Week two lasted a little longer and, given that I’m used to charging most of my devices once every 24hrs (moreso in some instances), having a charge-life last more than three times that is somewhat of a useful novelty.

2) Here’s the biggie: if there’s one thing that mobile geeks want, nay, that ALL MODERN CONSUMERS want, it’s more battery life. When I initially thought about getting a smartwatch, all I could think about was that precious battery life that having a permanent / all day bluetooth connection would suck up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because I use my phone less, the battery lasts longer. Bluetooth use included. I could go into more detail, but Iain’s post on the subject covers it quite well (scroll down to ‘Power’).

I’ve already mentioned that Pebble plays nice with my audio apps (Spotify and DoggCatcher) and my fitness app (RunKeeper), so that’s ace and, if I’m honest, I’ve not really got around to tinkering too much with either v2 of the firmware or myriad apps that are available. There’s a weird dichotomy about the whole thing: having a new piece of technology often means there’s more that I can do, but that seems to be the complete opposite of what this device was made for.

I spend less time looking at my phone today, than I ever have before. And to my mind, that can only be a good thing.

Thank you, Pebble, for freeing me from the shackles of my device. You rock.

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FAQs:

1. Why do I need another notification device?
You don’t. Pebble isn’t that. When I wear my Pebble, I actually switch the ringer and vibrate off on the handset. In fact, between Pebble and MightyText for Chrome, the phone hardly ever leaves my pocket.

2. Will I like the design/plastic feel/strap?
The strap can be changed, and Pebble Steel is looking great.

3. Do I need a Pebble?
I don’t know about you. All I can say is: Pebble has changed the way I interact with my device for the better. I treat messages as urgently as I want to, and I decide when and how I communicate. This slight shift in behaviour is solely down to wearing Pebble. If you think you use your phone too much, then get Pebble.

Any other questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll reply as best I can.

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In the UK? Pebble is £139.99 and available from Amazon.
US readers prices vary.

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7 thoughts on “Pebble: two weeks later”

  1. Just to clarify, when you were interacting directly with the phone, you felt you had to answer/respond immediately, that you couldn’t leave it alone? But when you have the Pebble as an intermediate then that urgency is not there. You’re still getting the notifications, but the desire to react immediately has gone? is that right?

    That’s interesting, behaviourally. So adding an extra step to the response route (getting out the phone) makes you more likely to consider before you act – that’s not a surprise. My question would be around why you feel you had to respond to the phone instead of developing an ignore until later reaction.

    [Reply]

    James Whatley Reply:

    Hey Rachel,

    You’re spot on with your assumption yes; by putting an addition step between receiving and responding I feel a lot less at the behest of those who are trying to contact me/loop me into conversations I have no interest in. Your question is one that I’ve asked myself a couple of times over the past ten days or so. I agree, why not just develop the ability to ignore? The only thing I could put it down to is/was ‘ease of response’.

    What I mean by that is, if my phone buzzes and I look at it, the phone is already in my hand and so there for responding ‘just quickly’ shouldn’t take a second or two so the decision is made to act now. Often to the detriment of my social situation and/or my work-flow.

    The content I receive now, I merely ‘glance’ at it (when I’m ready to) and then make a call on whether I need to make a call, if you’ll pardon the pun.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, btw – it’s appreciated! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    Thanks James, I made exactly the same points myself in my Pebble review – so it’s good to see someone else found it also extended their phone battery life 🙂

    And another answer Rachel’s question. For me, I think it’s that screening notifications on the phone exposes you to more temptation. Not just the “quick reply” reflex you mentioned… but the 101 other little things that you could “just” do with you phone whilst its already out.
    Whether this has more to do with my willpower/concentration is up for debate – but definitely for me splitting read/response devices up helps enormously.

    [Reply]

  2. I think Rachel just makes why the People didn’t work for me. I’d already developed that behavior. Makes me wonder how you or others might respond to life when/if the Pebble breaks: would your phone attention change, or would you have trained that behavior such that you’d not need another Pebble.

    Great thoughts as usual James.

    [Reply]

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