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Mike Riley

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Wearable Computing Evolves

April 12, 2012

A smart wristwatch featuring an E-Ink display was recently announced as a Kickstarter project. Developed by start-up InPulse, the Pebble smartwatch is currently filling its funding coffers via kickstart donations, and it looks like a potentially interesting competitor to the Android-based WIMM One device I reviewed last month. I suspect that if the E-Ink display proves popular and is responsive enough for effective multi-touch gestures, it could prompt WIMM to release a future version of its device with an E-Ink display as well, especially if it reduces weight and power consumption.

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Sporting an ARM Cortext-M3 microcontroller and a 144x168 E-Ink display surface, the Pebble should have enough computing power to provide basic interactions with an Android or iOS device. Scenarios include the display of text messages, weather, media controls, and meeting alerts. A free Pebble SDK is forthcoming, but as of the date of this post, it's not yet available for download.

However, InPulse has yet to ship its product (it might also likely have to change its company name, since a well-established company by that same name has existed for years, as a quick Google search shows). Given the uncertainty of Kickstart project promised deliverables, it will be a race for Pebble to hit its intended release date of August 2012. But I'm intrigued by the fact that wearable computing devices like the WIMM and the Pebble are appearing on the technology radar scopes. I hope to get my hands on the Pebble once it's available later this year and explore its SDK, functional aspects, and comparison to the WIMM One incumbent. Stay tuned… more to come.

With tablets becoming the new PCs, wearables could become the new mobiles.

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