Pebble Time very quickly became the most funded Kickstarter campaigns ever, despite lacking the same functions and features found on other smartwatches. To get around this, the wearable will feature a modular smartstraps that allow developers to build additional modules for the wearable; and is now offering seed money for those who want to get started.
The company is offering a US$1 million (about RM3.72 million) pool to developers who want to build smartstraps for the new Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel. What is interesting is how Pebble is planning on doing this. Instead of getting people to write in and talk to the company, it will be combing crowdfunding platforms and funding those instead. A very novel approach to the issue, and it is nice to see the company support the community that put it where it is today.
Smartstraps are additional add-on watch straps that add modular components to the Pebble Time through a proprietary connector. It is not clear what Pebble is looking for in these smartstraps, but there have been a couple of highlighted projects that provide a hint as to what the company deems worthy of its money.
One of these projects is Xadow smartstrap from Seeed Studio, that comes in two parts. One of which is the Pebble adapter, that allows the smartwatch to become compatible with company’s own Arduino based watch modules. These include an NFC module, heart rate sensor, and even GPS. There is also a smartstrap from Spark.io, which is building a “cellular development kit” that will allow the Pebble Time to connect directly to a cellular network; skipping the need for a smartphone.
Overall, Pebble has said that it will use its own judgment when determining how to distribute the funding. It is welcoming messages from developers who would like to highlight their own projects, and looks to be ready to fuel the third party accessories that will add to the Pebble Time’s competitive advantage.