The Pebble Time will retail for $199 and is on pace to ship in May.
That puts the watch's release awfully close to another major smartwatch launch: Apple's. Analysts have said that Apple's smartwatch entry has the potential to make the market for wearables more mainstream, beyond the fitness and technology enthusiasts who are currently driving sales. The Apple Watch is due to start shipping in April and offers a much different approach to the smartwatch than Pebble. The Apple Watch will start at $349 and has a more smartphone-like interface, fitness sensors and the ability to receive phone calls, positioning it as more of a luxury item than the less expensive Pebble Time.
But Pebble is more interested in a simple, low-fuss device. To that end, the company has also introduced a new menu design, which Pebble calls the "timeline." The Time has three buttons: one that lets you skim through your future schedule, another that takes you back to catch up on notifications and a center button that acts as the watch's main control.
The simplicity of the design may well differentiate Pebble from the more complicated (and technologically advanced) competitors among people who want smart capabilities on their wrists but don't want to spend a lot of time fiddling with their watches.
The new campaign is a homecoming of sorts for Pebble, which launched its first watch on the Kickstarter site in 2013. "This is where it all started," the company said in a message on the campaign page. "Three years ago you supported our vision to make the world’s first real smartwatch. The Kickstarter community and our early adopters believed in us before anyone else even knew we existed. You blew us away with your support and kicked off a worldwide movement!"
Early backers had already sent Pebble well past its $500,000 goal; in just over a half-hour, the company raised more than $1 million. (As of 11:30 a.m. ET, the campaign had hit $3.1 million.) The first 5,000 backers were able to snap up the watch for $159, but Pebble is also offering 20,000 of the watches for $179 as part of the campaign.