Shortly after revealing its color-display Pebble Time smartwatch, Pebble also unveiled smartstraps -- a new platform that will allow developers to add high-tech features to standard watch straps. We're now seeing the potential of this new platform, as the company has highlighted two new smartstrap concepts that could make your Pebble's strap as useful as its interactive display.
One new Pebble smartstrap concept comes by way of Seeed Studio, which will bring its modular Xadow straps to the Pebble family. Xadow modules offer features such as NFC, GPS and heart-rate monitoring, giving you the tools to pick and choose exactly which smart features you want on your watch straps. Xadow modules for Pebble are set to enter production later this year.
Pebble also showcased the Spark Electron prototype, which has the potential to connect your Pebble to a cellular network without a smartphone. The Electron strap would pack its own SIM card that offers up to 3G speeds, and aims to offer data plans at a low price. A developer version of Electron is available now on Kickstarter, and the tech is intended to launch by fall 2015.
A prototype of Spark Electron, which would bring 3G connectivity to Pebble.
While Xadow for Pebble and Spark Electron are only concepts at this point, they're both strong examples of how third-party smartstraps could help Pebble stand out amongst more premium competitors such as the LG Watch Urbane and upcoming Apple Watch. Smartstraps will complement the upcoming Pebble Time and Time Steel, which pack a revamped interface, a built-in microphone and are the first Pebble watches to feature color e-paper displays.
We were impressed by how lightweight and intuitive the Pebble Time was during our hands-on, and smartstraps have the potential to make the watch even more user-friendly. Pebble Time begins shipping in May for Kickstarter backers; no word yet on when to expect the first official smartstrap.