I have a particular set of skills. I’ve had a knack over the years of investing in doomed technology. First it was webOS. Then BlackBerry 10. One of the more recent ones would be Pebble. Its demise hit me almost as hard as the webOS dumpster fire ending.
I loved my Pebble. The software team (many former webOS devs) developed a super solid OS and paired with great battery life. It truly gave users a smartwatch experience that, in my opinion, hasn’t been matched. Pebble OS is fast, simple, and effective at providing notifications without the need of a phone.
Further, it had a huge advantage of not being touch screen. You could easily manage the entire device with buttons. From selections to navigating menus you just needed to tap a button. No fumbling with swipes or screen smudges.
Then, my historical trend continued. Pebble was eaten up by Fitbit and my favorite smartwatch was set to fade into oblivion. And it kinda did… for a minute.
The company shut down its servers in June 2018. This killed the app and all the fringe features like Weather from working on the watches.
Fortunately, my heartbreak was short-lived. The emergence of some former Pebble devs got a movement started back in February 2018 with the creation of Rebble. This is an open source initiative to revive the Pebble back end processes.
I didn’t come away impressed when I first tried it in July, but after trying it again last week, I’ve returned to my Pebble full-time.
I was having issues with the alternative platform I’d been using and decided to give Rebble another shot. Previously I had Bluetooth connection problems and the old Timeline feature with Weather and Calendar was broken. Thankfully, these all now seemed to be solved if you opt into the company’s $3 monthly plan.
I gladly sent them $3 to return this great watch into my life. It still gets what I want done right. I have 4-5 day battery life. Always on display. Great notifications. Step counts. And a touch free interface that just works.
Is Pebble any better with the new Rebble services running behind it? No, but I see that as a positive. I also understand it doesn’t have some of the latest bells and whistles of Apple, Fitbit, and Android. I’m not looking to shout commands at my watch. Nor am I interested in using it for mobile payments.
As a pure extension of notification triage and fitness tracking, the Pebble still wins the spot on my wrist again. Will I shun all other platforms? No. I actually intend to revisit the new Fitbit Versa in the coming weeks. However, for now I’m happy with my Rebble watch.