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Pebble is a customizable watch. Download new watchfaces, use sports and fitness apps, get notifications from your phone.
Pebble is a customizable watch. Download new watchfaces, use sports and fitness apps, get notifications from your phone.
68,929 backers pledged $10,266,845 to help bring this project to life.

DV Build at the Factory

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DV build complete

Over the last 2 weeks, we've ironed out a ton of issues in our production line. Sometimes the problems seem small ("what's up with that foam tape holding the vibrating motor to the housing?" or "we need to modify the pulp tray tooling to allow for a 0.5cm longer USB A connector") but since we're nearing the point of manufacturing 85,000 Pebbles, we need to make sure everything is sorted out before we start mass production. I want to re-iterate that Pebble is not in mass production (MP) yet. MP will start as soon as we eliminate any outstanding issues and complete the final Production Verification (PV) build. Based on the current schedule, we will start PV just before the end of December.

One of the hardest parts of manufacturing in China is keeping the Pebble team at the factory in sync with the Palo Alto team. We work through so many issues each day, resulting in daily brain dumps like these:

Nothing is more important to us than making sure that each Pebble is as awesome as possible, so every component of the watch (both aesthetic and functional) needs to be tested and inspected during the assembly process. Even before the components hit the production line, a talented team of Incoming Quality Control (IQC) people inspect each and every component, from individual electronic chips to the metal buckles on the strap. 

Lens inspection station before hardcoating process

After IQC, the electronic components are soldered onto the circuit board, and then everything heads to the 'line'. The video at the beginning of this post shows about 1/3 of the different stations on the production line, including assembly stations where operators put pieces of Pebble together (by gluing, soldering, snapping and taping) and test stations (firmware flashing and verification, power rail test, serial line test, backlight inspection, with functional testing woven in). 

On the production line, every Pebble is tracked with several different barcodes

Operator placing an in-progress Pebble into a functional test jig

Functional testing checks each button, the charge connector, display and backlight before gluing

The output of DV was 150 assembled Pebbles and 30 'kits' (unglued set of all parts). We've got a list of problems that we've noticed and solutions to implement. The next scheduled build is DV2 on Dec 8, with Production Verification (PV) scheduled 2 weeks after that.

As usual, all images and more are available in a high res album

Random Tidbits

  • Button tests complete. Still working after 50,000 presses.
  • Our custom lithium-ion polymer battery passed UL certification.
  • Hacker Special watches will be sent out from the DV batch.
  • Software work is progressing well. We've reached a point where features are being added very quickly, after a long process of laying a strong foundation to the watch operating system.
  • In the next update, we'll include video showing off the state of software on the watch.

As usual, thanks very much backers! On a personal note, it's quite amazing for me to stand in the factory, seeing these awesome watches pop off the production line. I'm extremely proud of what our team has accomplished so far. It's incredible to think that 4 years ago I was putting together the first prototype at TU Delft. Here's a video I uploaded back in 2008 of that first prototype (I know, I know...I needed a haircut...):

Thanks,

Eric + Pebble Team

Gal n' Romy Baicher (deleted) and matthew like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Bert Nieuwenhuizen on January 1, 2013

      Pebble team thx for your good work. Please take all the time you need to make a good watch. A lot of people have enough patience and considerations to wait.

    2. Creator Jed Davidowkickstarter@ultralame.com on December 8, 2012

      For those of you getting frustrated...

      Their goal was $100k . That's about 1000 watches. Clearly they planned to make these in a garage somewhere.

      But now they have to make AND SUPPORT almost 100x as many. The requires mass production. And that takes time to set up right. You ship 1000 watches with a hardware error and it's bad. Ship 100,000?

      It took me 1m to read that their production is set go through a QA process in late December, and that mass production will start within a couple days/weeks if all goes well. @15k per week, I expect that everyone will have their watches by late Feb.

      Is this a problem for you? Maybe you shouldn't invest in the creation of things, because this is pretty typical.

    3. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 7, 2012

      @Jim: If Pebble spent all of its time doing updates, there'd be no time to make a product. Just sayin'.

    4. Creator Jim Roth on December 7, 2012

      Like so many others, I'm starting to have my suspicions regarding the integrity of this project. I'd very much appreciate more frequent and timely updates.

    5. Creator CaffeineJunkie on December 7, 2012

      The updates are usually posted late evening. Depending on who is doing the posting (Ie. if it's someone back in the US) then remember its currently 5AM there. It could be posted late evening there so tomorrow morning in your timezone. Thats probably why the last update has a date of the 24th November, which is a Saturday.

    6. Creator Frank Spencer on December 7, 2012

      Where is update 25 ? Where is the SDK ? Where are the Hacker specials ? Where is the shipping date ? Where's my watch ? Where has a large proportion of my time gone over the last 7 months ? At least I know my $500 has reached Pebbles bank account safe and well !!!!

    7. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 7, 2012

      @All of you crazed fools: WHERE'S WALDO?

    8. Creator Ajay on December 6, 2012

      @paul where is my watch?

    9. Creator Stephen and Stacy Wylie (Devino) on December 6, 2012

      As one of the 100 Hacker Backers, I can confirm that there has been no activity since completing and sending in special paperwork to Pebble in early October.

      There is mention that the Hacker Backer Pebbles will go out from this batch. However, I have yet to hear anything.

    10. Creator Kaohe Arai on December 6, 2012

      I always thought the idea of kickstarter was to connect the people with the ideas to the funding they may not be able to get by normal means. It is not a store. It is about putting your money where your mouth is. They had a cool idea, I wanted to see it made. You can look at my profile and most of those other projects don't update half as often as the Pebble project. I will hold my opinions of the product until I get it, so to say we are getting a better or worst product is hard to say. But, as far as the work these guys have done so far, my opinion is that they are doing what is necessary. I usually don't comment, but they were getting nasty so I just wanted to chime in.

    11. Creator Sunil on December 6, 2012

      I kinda agree with them that they want to ship the good product late than untested bad product late but giving no visibility of when would you actually ship the watch is frustrating. Pebblemakers : I'm not interested to see how you do it. I just want to know WHEN I'm going to get my watch. I hope you're listening. And other backers .... think about this you want good , tested watch. Understand this is not eBay or Amazon ...when you paid it only idea existed.

    12. Creator Sunil on December 6, 2012

      Where's my watch ?

    13. Creator Christopher Burnett on December 6, 2012

      Where's my watch:)

    14. Creator Tom Wilkinson on December 6, 2012

      @Paul, WHERE IS MY WATCH??????

    15. Creator Miguel Ruiz on December 6, 2012

      How come the ETA was for September and as of today December 06 we still dont have a clue when will the shipping start? I need to know what's the process to have my money back!
      I am tired of waiting...

    16. Creator Paul Roodenburg on December 5, 2012

      I am so tired to read all the "where is my watch" comments. Thankfully I am also very happy to read the blogposts. Eric a big thumbs up for those :-). I really love seeing "our" project coming along so well.

      I know it has been a long haul for us backers, but How about the long haul Eric and his team find themselves in. I respect all the hard work they are putting in.

      And yes I know all the "where is my watch" backers will call me a fanboy after this comment. So be it. I see myself more as a realist who knows he is baking a worthwhile product we all have been waiting for for a long time.

      I am really looking forward to the next blog and in the end of course the final product :-)

    17. Creator Ken Jones on December 5, 2012

      I think there's something that all these "It looks like they'll ship in March/April/Summer" commenters need to bear in mind that no-one seems to have touched on yet.
      There is absolutely no way Pebble will be stockpiling watches until all 85,000 are completed before sending them to backers. At a rate of 15,000 watches per week once they get mass production up to speed it's a pretty safe assumption that they'll begin sending watches as soon as they're ready (most likely in the order in which people backed the project) so final backers will probably receive their watches about 6-8 weeks after the earliest backers get theirs.
      Given the status on the tests being done in the run up to Christmas it looks promising for mass production to begin early next year. Obviously that's assuming there aren't any further bugs identified in these latest test runs, but if all goes well I would hope to see an update from Eric in mid-late January confirming that MP is underway and perhaps even providing a way for backers to check their place in the queue to get individual ETAs based on the projected production schedule.

    18. Creator CaffeineJunkie on December 5, 2012

      Evan, you're absolutely right. Many people get the whole kickstarter thing round the wrong way. It's goal is to enable funding for projects that might not come in to being any other way, be they technical or artistic. The kickstarter projects are the clients, not us. We're enabling them, and the choice to do so or not is ours.

    19. Creator Darryl Okahata on December 5, 2012

      @Allen -- Yeah, as much as the thought will frighten people here, March is probably realistic. (I'm currently thinking, "April", but March is certainly possible.)

      When this kickstarter ended, I was fully expecting the schedule to slip. Back then, I was thinking, "December", but I didn't know that they were going to move production to China.

    20. Creator Evan Booth on December 5, 2012

      Just for a little variety:

      We paid our $1xx for Pebble to *develop* this product, not for the product itself. We're the reason that all the stuff in these excellent updates is taking place, so sit back, pop some high blood pressure meds, relax and take pleasure in the fact that really cool things are clearly happening, and we're all to blame for it. :)

    21. Creator Daniel Batchelor on December 5, 2012

      I'm still excited about my Pebble, but would be lying if I said I am as excited as when I first backed it. I've had mixed feelings about the delays, I wasn't surprised they wouldn't be able to ship in September and later October. The updates prepared me for no shipping in November, so that wasn't a big deal, but I had kinda expected them to ship before Christmas, so that kinda surprised me. What's kept me from getting upset about it is that I think we're getting a far superior product than, for instance, had Pebble only received limited backing, i.e. 1,000 or so, then I think I would have received a beta version. The inclusion of BT 4.0 was a huge plus IMO.
      This is only my second Kickstarter project and I think it'll probably be my last. It seems to me that the "reward" doesn't really provide much in savings over the projects anticipated retail cost (which probably isn't set in stone either), and there is a risk that you'll receive a subpar product. In the case of Pebble, instead of developing what I imagine would have been a beta production line, they had the funding to build their final full scale production line, so once the "rewards" have been completed and shipped they'll already be in full production of their retail product. My point is that had I just waited until the rewards started shipping to place my order, my waiting period would probably have been shorter and I'd have peace of mind that the product was complete. Plus I'd have the benefit of product reviews from backers. I got in on the $125 reward, so I have to ask myself, what did I really get that was worth the $25 savings? Fortunately I feel I've lucked out since Pebble will be shipping a quality product to it's backers. However, now that I've experienced the KS thing (albeit limited) and considered the pros and cons of backing a project, there are far more cons than pros. If a project gets backing, like Pebble, there's enough interest to bring it to market and if done well, can become a successful mainstream product, if it doesn't get backing or just barely enough backing, then it either wasn't really a great idea and/or it won't succeed in the market, which means support will not exist or only have a limited lifetime.

    22. Creator Frank Spencer on December 5, 2012

      @Crispin- The Sep 12 date was way too optimistic. This has also scared Pebble into not announcing a future date. Pebble know they messed up with the timescale and dont want a repeat.

      I think the best and worst things about this whole project is the fact that the product has the potential to be brilliant and its that excitement along with the delays that are frustrating backers.

    23. Creator Dr. Crippen on December 4, 2012

      I take it on board that had it only been the original 1000 watches they would have been produced differently in the US, but it is still likely that the time budget was unrealistic. That said, I am still looking forward to receiving my watches, and yes I'd rather they are 'right' and not rushed. The broader concern is that Kickstarter are riding for a fall: sooner or later there will be an elaborate scam set up that has no intention of ever producing something, and Kickstarter can allow this to happen and not be concerned. But this isn't the forum to discuss that, so I respectfully apologise for having caused a distraction. As I say, I am concerned that some of the production issues were not correctly budgeted (time), but I am happy to patiently await what will most likely be a better product with a better finish and better production standards giving hopefully better reliability.

    24. Creator Allen on December 4, 2012

      @Tom Good Luck with that

      I'm an engineer and I know what it takes to get a product from concept\prototype phase to a production quality device. Yes the initial timeline given was overly optomistic, but these guys are the real deal, you will get your watch, and its not going to be a piece of junk. That is of course my opinion based on all the development updates the team has given. They are doing what it takes to create a quality product.

      We didn't pay for a watch, We invested money in a company with the goal of helping a new product get produced. All investing is risky, and in this case the potential reward of the investment isn't a finacial return, but rather a physical product. Kickstarter is not a store. Immediate gratification was never part of the deal.

      All of our money or a large portion of it has been spent to try to make the product we believed in enough to give $125 to help make a reality.

      Personally I hope I get mine in time for golf season to start ~March, which I think is realistic based on the current status.

    25. Creator Tom Wilkinson on December 4, 2012

      I could probably make my own before I get the one I paid for.

    26. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 4, 2012

      That would be soley up to Pebble, but seeing as how most of the cash is invested into actually making these items, I'd say forget it. You'll have to wait until you receive your watch for satisfaction.

    27. Creator Tom Wilkinson on December 4, 2012

      @Donald, just being realistic. I feel like I just pissed that money away, along with thousands of other saps. When this fails, we get our money back right, or is that just wishful thinking?

    28. Creator Øystein Jakobsen on December 4, 2012

      Lots of people seems to be complaining about extended shipping dates. I find that the Pebble project is a model project when it comes to updates.

      As long as the updates are as informative and thoughtful as the ones from the Pebble team are, I have no problem accepting the delays. Not only do I see that theyre working on it, but I see the progress and Im learning much about the work it entails going from idea to mass production. Seeing x-ray's from testing, reports on glue fixes etc gives me a new insight you could only get from a kickstarter project and not from traditional manufacturing where they want to keep everything secret.

    29. Creator Frank Spencer on December 4, 2012

      No one from Pebble seems to comment on this forum and the answers that are given on the Pebble forum are Cherry picked !

      At least you get a sensible answer from Donald. You should be happy that we have someone of his caliber sharing his knowledge for free.

    30. Creator Brian Casey on December 4, 2012

      is this Eric's project or Donald's... i'm confused.

    31. Creator Rich Hughes on December 4, 2012

      Any chance mine will be in the UK before Christmas? :(

    32. Creator Jordan Cherkewich on December 3, 2012

      This was my first Kickstarter project and will probably be my last. Delays are expected and acceptable, however the lack of a timeline and the terrible communication has left me questioning the Kickstarter model.

    33. Creator Heiko Gerstung on December 3, 2012

      My first KS project, although I was a little bit afraid that this is not going to fly, I did not expect that there could be a 3 months delay. I gave up hoping for this to arrive before Xmas, hopefully they ship before end of March 2013 ...

      Go Pebble!

    34. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 3, 2012

      @Graeme: TOTALLY AGREE with the edit button situation. It would be nice. It's not like every blog, BBS, and forum has had the option since, what?, 2004!!! LOL!

      Even if they updated the shipping date, you have any idea how many lost souls would be asking what it was because Pebble, now, can only post it in the comments section and on their forum? They can't change the dates on the main screen. Once again, a Kickstarter EDIT button would be great for that.

      Should they want to update their ship date, I don't think they even know, right now, what it would be with extra production capabilities. With the new die/tool, it will certainly change whatever they had on paper. Thus, the withholding of a date. Also, when they go into MP, they'll decide what kind of shift schedules they'll run. With the Chinese New Year coming up, and all the plastics on hand from Taiwan, they would have set a date in mid-2013 based on all those factors, just to find out they dropped the ball and had to revise it again because they ramped up to more shifts, and nwo have everything they need on site without waiting for it to be shipped in.

    35. Creator Stephen Holinaty on December 3, 2012

      Can you please try to give a rough hopefully-shipping-by date in your next update? a lot of people are anxious for these.

    36. Creator Frank Spencer on December 3, 2012

      You get my drift, its almost Apr last year !! It will be by the time any are shipped !! Yes Ok my dollars and pounds are also mixed up.

      Granted, it was never going to be a walk in the park, but by providing the Sept date they were inferring it would be, which whatever way you look at it was misleading to backers. The sept date should have been pushed out from the offset. Yet this remains a challenge for Pebble !

      An edit button would be helpful, ont you think !!!

    37. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 3, 2012

      @Graeme: Happy New Year??? It wasn't last year. "If the Sep 12 date was given as Mar 13 back in Apr last year, I wonder what the impact would have been on that £10m ?" If you want to get technical, it's not £10m, either. It's $10M. You would think people would be able to infer, from the updates created, that this wasn't going to be a 'walk in the park' project.

    38. Creator Frank Spencer on December 3, 2012

      @ Crispin – Travel is a necessity to assist in the testing, production and overall development of the project.

      As CJ mentioned Pebbles intention was to manufacture the orginal 100,000 in the US before this thing went viral !!

      Therefore, the point you were trying to make about travel is a moot point

      @ Donald – Surely the point of an estimated date is to provide backers with a realistic timescale of when the reward is likely to be shipped ? If you are saying that no-one should ever have believed the estimated date, then that begs the question why is it provided ? This is not the fault of the backer, this information was provided by Pebble/KS to help backers make an informed decision as to whether they wanted to make a pledge or not. This is Pebbles error not the backers, why do you continually defend them on this when it is plain to see it is their error. Regardless of all the additional work, there has never been a more realistic date provided which incorporates these changes in design. If the Sep 12 date was given as Mar 13 back in Apr last year, I wonder what the impact would have been on that £10m ?

    39. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      @Tom: You're really taking the term "Doubting Thomas" to new levels, aren't you?

    40. Creator Tom Wilkinson on December 2, 2012

      I'm doubting we will ever get our watches.

    41. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      Oh, and Tom... that comment to Crispin can be directed towards you, as well.

    42. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      @Petr: The novelty doesn't wear off if you follow the updates. So many who come here to complain don't. If they did, they wouldn't be whining so much as they'd understand what the hell is going on. To them, I say, read within the context, you might learn something along the way. Too many people don't, take everything out of context, and learn nothing in the process. What makes Kickstarter great is you learn about the manufacturing process as things progress. You won't get that with other projects that are on non-disclosure lockdowns.

    43. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      @Daniel: Laugh all you want. You'd probably be the first one in line griping that it was a POS if they outed it with a boatload of bugs. You're getting a better watch than was advertised out of this.

    44. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      @Crispin: Where are you seeing them fly back and forth between Palo Alto and China non-stop? It's only when necessary. Airfare is cheap when you do lots of travel with frequent flier miles and booking agents. It's merely a cost of doing business which can be written down at the end of the year against the company's taxes.

      So far, in the update #23, Eric has traveled to China to be a part of the crew there in Dongguan at Dragon, after originally traveling there to secure a manufacturer. When you have $10M riding on it, you don't pick a POS place. In update #19, Andrew was sent to Taipei, Taiwan in regards to production testing and "other things", most likely regarding the newly crafted FPCB. This would make sense as a prototype FPCB was posted in update #15, with Eric working on a completed one in update #17. Also, remember, Antennagate hit with the dual-band BT4.0 radios being installed as per update #18.

      There was "bouncing back and forth between Palo Alto and Taipei a lot over the last 6 weeks." for R&D in update #17 between Dragon's R&D in Taipei and Palo Alto. This is to be expected of ANY major start up operation in China and Taiwan.

      "Andrew, Steve and I [Eric] have all traveled separately to Taipei to oversee the transition between the design and manufacturing stages of the project."

      So, when you look at it, travel to China will gain you a day, but lose you a day when you come back. A little thing called the International Date Line comes into play. Even though it was 6 weeks, you lose a bucketload of time in the air (14 hours and 10 minutes, plus any gate or weather delays - Source: http://goo.gl/C2LDO), plus you're crossing the date line. With that in mind, there couldn't have been that many trips amongst 3 people in a 6 week period if they spent any significant mount of time on the ground.

      In update #11: "Andrew (lead engineer), Steve (industrial designer) and I (Eric) are about to head off on a trip to China. We're flying to Hong Kong, then crossing over into the Dongguan area. We'll be checking in with the factories that are helping us bring Pebble to life."

      That's all I can find.

    45. Creator Donald Hansen Jr. on December 2, 2012

      It is foolish to think a Kickstarter project would meet an "ESTIMATED" delivery date. Sorry to mess up your Christmas, John, but seriously, you never should have used KS to fill your Christmas list. Just sayin'.

    46. Creator John Engle on December 2, 2012

      All this is great - but is there an updated release date? I bought two, one as a present, and we are just weeks from Christmas and there is no clue as to delivery? I was very excited about these, but now, I am worried that I am out a good chunk of money. Has me reconsidering doing any type of electronic project on here again. And no, it isn't life and death, but it isn't just a minor thing either. I'm not ok with waiting a year. Kickstarter should look at making campaigns more accountable.

    47. Creator CaffeineJunkie on December 2, 2012

      Crispin, had they only been making the original 1000 watches they would have been made in the USA with a different process. It was the switch to a mass production model that forced them to to relocate production to China.

    48. Creator Daniel Nagrampa on December 2, 2012

      Laughing at all the complacent backers: "I don't care about the delays! As long as my watch comes out perfect! You can't rush perfection! Heck, I'm willing to wait another year or two, or three. As long as it's perfect!"

      Another complacent backer: "It is not a life threatening situation people, it is just a delay in getting a gizmo... I'll wait as long as it takes. TAKE YOU TIME"

    49. Creator Dr. Crippen on December 2, 2012

      Easily overlooked is the simple fact that had this project raised $100k for 1,000 watches and then flown so many people back and forth to China and then overrun by this length of time, it would have run out of money long before entering production. Whilst the Pebble team may have previous experience in bringing a device into production and to market, there has been one almighty cock up in the budgeting of this. This really begs the question of whether this was planned from the outset and misrepresented to the backers, and I'm sad to say the evidence shows this to be likely. In truth, maybe it is now Kickstarter's duty to audit the Pebble project. If there was no way that this project could have reached production of 1,000 units from $100k in any time frame (let alone September) then there is a straightforward term that can be applied: fraud. This is irrespective of any rules and clauses and small print that Kickstarter may have, it would still be fraud.
      Now, at the end of the day, I still want to receive my watches and perhaps I am reassured that the project has been so far oversubscribed as it means they will eventually produce my watches, whereas as an early backer I might otherwise have lost out if it had only raised $100k.
      I do suggest that in future Kickstarter has a duty of care to fulfil before handing over large sums of money on projects that may actually be unfeasible.

    50. Creator Formulka on December 2, 2012

      The updates are nice as I can see you are making progress, but I kind of stopped caring about the watch already some time ago :( its like the novelty wore off before I even got the product.