Pebble Announces Smartstraps, Makes Smartwatch “Hackable”

Martian, Samsung, and Apple have all released their own versions of the smart watch, but Pebble may have surpassed all of the competitors with their most recent announcement: Pebble’s smartwatch, the “Pebble Time,” will now support smartstraps.

But what are smartstraps? Actually, they’re just hardware extensions that can change a smartwatch’s features or provide completely new ones. A smartstrap could have its own GPS system, Wi-Fi radio, extra battery, or even its own fitness tracker. It seems kind of weird, considering a lot of smart watches already have some of these features, but the idea is that the possibilities with the smart straps are endless.

In an e-mail interview with read write, Pebble’s CEO, Eric Migicovsky, spoke on some of smartstraps’ possibilities.

“Imagine GPS, so you could track your runs and rides without taking your phone along, or a battery strap, increasing Pebble Time’s battery from seven days to… maybe a month? Then there is always the opportunity for hackers and makers to create straps that bring a special, unique sensor or functionality for a particular use case, like a certain health situation.”

This is what makes Pebble’s compatibility with the smartstrap special—the fact that hackers and makers can create anything to augment or add to their smart watches. In the Pebble Smartstrap forums, hackers have been discussing using solar or kinetic energy to increase the Pebble Time’s battery, and creating a smartstrap game controller. Screw flying cars, I want to play Pac-Man on my smartstrap.

The Pebble Time comes out next month, however, the smartstraps won’t be available for a minute, unfortunately.

“It will probably take 6-12 months to see more smartstraps hit the market,” Migicovsky told Read Write. “Hardware is hard.”

Photo: Pebble Time

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