Big news this week is that we're getting the watchface SDK ready to be out into the wild. We're going to publish it during the 2nd week of April. We're also publishing a firmware update next week, and while we have definitely not finished our manufacturing work, over 40,000 Pebbles have been built to date.
Firmware Update Next Week
In other news next week we'll be publishing a firmware update for Pebble, version 1.9. With this latest update, we've changed around the interface flow. Watchfaces are now at the bottom of the window stack; if you keep pressing the back button from anywhere inside Pebble's menus, you'll get to your previously displayed watchface. The right top and bottom (up and down) buttons now change between different watchfaces you've installed on your Pebble. This simplifies the main launcher menu. We've also made a lot of changes under the hood on the text rendering engine, making it easier and faster for developers to display text on Pebble.
Right from the beginning, PebbleOS was built with multiple apps in mind. This was mainly in reaction to the developer response to our first watch, inPulse. In the fall, as we began work on the user facing apps on Pebble, we started using a prototype of the SDK internally to develop watchfaces for Pebble. That's when we knew that the first release of the SDK would be mainly geared towards watchfaces as this was the first type of app that would be well supported. It turns out games are similar in structure (only require button inputs), so they are also candidates for this revision of the native SDK :)
Important note: the proof-of-concept Pebble watchface SDK will not enable access to the accelerometer (or magnetometer), or communication between watchfaces and smartphones (among other major deficiencies).
As a small company, we had to be very careful with our focus and priorities. We knew that getting Pebble into mass production and shipping watches to you, our Kickstarter backers, needed to be our prime objective. We also knew that the out of box experience was important which is why we worked really hard to support the wide variety of Android devices and iOS variations right from the start.
During the 2nd week of April, we'll be releasing a proof-of-concept watchface SDK. It's a work in progress, and there's a 99% chance that we're going to be changing a lot of the APIs...but it's an important first step towards shifting our focus towards supporting developers. I know we have communicated very poorly to developers up until this point, but we hope that you'll understand how important it was for us and for Pebble as a platform to have the initial release of the hardware go well.
We made the decision to beta test the watchface SDK with hacker backers. It's been incredible seeing just what a small subset of the Pebble developer community has created in a short period of time. As soon as the watchface SDK is released, developers will be free to share all apps that they've created. The good news is that the following 3 apps will be available as soon as firmware version 1.9 is released next.
Hoe Laat Is Het?, by Hudson (Can you tell time in Dutch?)
Fairly classic watchface
Snake game, by Nicholas
If you're searching for inspiration for your first Pebble watchface design, look no further than the fantastic Pebble Concepts site, hosted by RichardG. We're big fans of a bunch of designs there, but remember that some designs will not be implementable using the proof-of-concept watchface SDK. Pebble's display is 144 x 168 pixels, black and white only.
Some of the awesome Pebble-compatible designs that Pebblers have submitted to RichardG's site!
Tidbits from the Pebble World
- Production of Red lenses happened this week (the first colour that has gone into production so far). Next step is to optically bond the display to these lenses, which will be happening next week.
- Two thousand long watch straps will be shipped next week by letter mail. Over 85% of the Kickstarter backers who ordered long straps are in this first batch.
- Over 40,000 Pebbles have been manufactured so far, with many more on the way (check ispebbleshipping.com for recent stats)
- We're doing our best to work our way through all technical questions and issues. The best spot to start if you have any issues is at help.getpebble.com, then if you continue to have a problem, please use the 'Contact Support' or 'Email Support' button inside the Pebble iOS or Android app.
We know we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we're really pumped up so far with the early reactions from Pebblers on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, our (new) forums and more! While we can't respond to everything out there, we do read voraciously. Keep the feedback coming, thanks Pebblers!
Eric + Pebble Team