Pebble Watches Get GPS, More Battery Life with New Strap

Pebble Time smartwatches are about to get superpowered. A new smart strap called Powerstrap Pal just launched on Kickstarter, and it promises to bring GPS capability and extra battery life to your Pebble Time, Time Steel or Time Round. Available now at an early bird price of $65, the Pal is a promising Pebble Time add-on for fitness enthusiasts.

With the Pal, you'll be able to track key data, such as speed, distance, elevation and route, without depending on your smartphone's GPS system. The smartstrap carries what  describes as a "high performance, independent GPS" and a 250-mAh battery that Powerstrap says will extend the life of the Pebble by up to 7 days. More importantly, though, the onboard battery will power the GPS, which is notorious for draining any device.

Powerstrap says the Pal is capable of storing up to 24 hours of GPS info, and will be able to work with third-party apps. The Pal will also come with a companion app for iOS and Android (in addition to the watch app) to let you get and share location logs, route and running info, as well as set goals.

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Pal is based on the open-source smart strap API provided by Pebble for its Time series of watches, and has the support of Pebble founder & CEO Eric Migicovsky. "We've worked closely with the team at Pal for over a year to deliver a great addition to our Pebble watches," Migicovsky said in a statement, "GPS and extra battery life are the kinds of features that our community has always wanted."

Together with the Pebble Time, the Pal weighs 2.29 ounces, which is noticeably heavier than the 1.5 ounces the watch weighs with its included silicone strap. But, says Powerstrap, the Pebble Time with Pal is 20 percent lighter than the average GPS watch.

The Hong Kong-based company is expecting to ship its first units of the Pal in October this year, and is shooting to achieve IPx7 certification for water resistance in the pre-production stage. Pal will be available in six colors, including green, red, blue, white and yellow.

With the added GPS support, Pebble Time watches could be much better fitness trackers. Pebble recently released an update to its Health app to enable auto run tracking, smart alarms and improved activity charts.

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