The sports gadget market continues to grow with news that Pebble have closed a $15 million round of funding from Charles River Ventures. The bulk of the money is to support the release of the World’s first Smart Watch, which indicatively of the strength of the fitness technology market at the moment, is being launched by a fit tech brand. Pebble, you may recall, hit the news last year after successfully funding their project on the crowd funding website Kickstarter.
Seemingly the fundraising is largely in order to keep up with demand as well as to launch the smart watch, with the company claiming the need to rapidly ramp up production in order to meet demand. As further testament to the increasingly competitive landscape within fitness gadgets, they have also stated the need to bring in new staff for their software engineering team.
Companies like to celebrate a successful fundraising with a statement of intent, which in the case of Pebble appears to be the release of their updated SDK for their Smart-watch product. Rebranded as “PebbleKit” the software will now communicate two ways with third party apps. Developers can now create apps, or more realistically update their apps, to pull information back out of Pebble’s interface, as opposed to just inputting. This naturally opens up the opportunity for a much more synergised user experience between the Smart Watch and your favourite fitness apps.
Pebble have high hopes for this feature, and seemingly these lofty ambitions extend a good way beyond mere fitness tech. In a press release the company said “Watchapps can now be built to receive weather or traffic information, act as remote controls for a phone or internet-connected device, or display Bitcoin prices”. Is this the first stake in the ground for the Smart Watch battle which is set to dominate the second half of 2013, considering the rumoured Apple release?
Additionally, Pebble have announced a new sports API, which is designed to interact with leading fitness apps like MapMyRun. The aim here is to encourage more of the leading apps to take Pebble seriously and to dedicate some proper resource towards supporting the Smart Watch and other Pebble releases.
So, we have an exciting summer ahead as Fit Tech takes on Apple, Microsoft and Google in the Smart Watch arena. They must have thought it was hard enough taking on Nike and the rumoured Adidas release…