Pebble Cuts Prices, Sets Its Own Course

pebble-photo-mainTechCrunch has a nice interview with Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, pinned to price cuts of $50 and $30 for the Pebble and Pebble Steel, respectively. The notification devices also are gaining additional sleep and activity tracking capabilities. But that’s not what makes the article so interesting.

Ever since the announcement of Android Wear, Pebble has been walking around with a bulls-eye on its back. How can a company with a good if limited product survive in a world of dominated by the likes of Google, let alone Apple? By focusing on function and price, Migicovsky says. Android, he told TechCrunch, seems intent on making a smartphone experience on your wrist. Pebble comes at it from the opposite direction: starting at the watch and adding functions on top of that.

And Apple? Migicovsky expressed relief that the Apple Watch is actually revealed, if not shipping. He correctly pegged it as a luxury product, starting as it does at three times Pebble’s price, even though it actual features and execution aren’t clear even now.

For the first time in months, it looks like Pebble might yet survive.

 

Nixie Wearable Drone is an Intel Finalist

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We’ve been writing off and on about the Intel “Make It Wearable” development competition. The company’s announced 10 finalists, and although all of them are pretty cool, the Nixie wearable drone is just off the gotta-have-it charts. Understand that the Nixie is not a product; it’s a development prototype. You can’t buy it, and probably […]

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Juniper Report Says Big Wearables Companies Are Moving Past the Device to the Ecosystem

Juniper Research’s latest smart devices report is out, and it suggests that fitness trackers are becoming so commoditized that the larger companies are worried more about the software than the hardware. The company’s third report on wearables expects that 116 million smart wearables will be sold in 2017, five times the 27 million estimated for […]

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Basis Prepares New Fitness Band, the Peak

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Intel (which for many years has insisted loudly and long that it is not in the consumer products business) bought Basis a few months ago. along with its well-regarded B1 fitness band. The company is now unveiling a follow-on product, the Basis Peak, which make several upgrades in interface and power. The Peak, which will […]

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TAG Heuer Thinks That Make Wearables Are An OK Idea After All

Swiss watchmakers have this love/hate relationship with wearable tech. They pretty unanimously dismissed it. Now they’re coming around, possibly spurred by Apple’s hiring away Patrick Pruniaux, TAG Heuer’s VP of sales. Now, the head of LMVH’s watch business Jean-Claude Biver, says TAG Heuer is interested in making a wearable device, but that it mustn’t copy […]

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Bionym, Maker of Nymi, Closes $14 Million Series A Funding Round

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Bionym, makers the Nymi identity band, says it’s closed a $14 million Series A funding round, including money from Mastercard and Salesforce. The Nymi, slated to ship this fall, is a wristband that can confirm a wearer’s identity by sensing their electrocardiogram. Bionym expects the Nymi to have particular applications related to passwords and financial transactions. […]

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Secretive Sensor Maker Valencell Gets Money and Ink, Eyes IPO

There’s a company down in Raleigh, N.C. called Valencell that makes biometric sensors for the ear. Its PerformTek products are built into earbuds from Jabra and LG, among others. Valencell, reports the Triangle Business Journal, has a new $7 million funding round (increasing its investment to $23 million), and a new lab and development facility in […]

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Augmate Lands $2.8M in Seed Funding

The New York-based augmented reality startup Augmate has pulled in $2.8 million in seed funding, led by VC (and California separatist) Tim Draper. Augmate is an enterprise play, building enterprise software for visors; it plays in the same space as APX Labs, for instance. Specific applications are in construction, medicine, and dispatch and repair.    

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Texas Med School Looks at Whether Trackers Can Actually Help Your Health

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has taken a hard look at 13 fitness trackers to determine if they’re likely to actually help people improve their health. researchers found that most of them do, although none do everything they might to help their wearers past frequent problems. (Scroll down the linked page to read the […]

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Crowdfunding Wearables Isn’t a Good Way to VC’s Hearts, Techcrunch Finds

There are been some extraordinarily successful crowdfunded wearable projects, it’s true. Pebble and Omate are famous for raising more than $1 million each and going on to commercial success. But an analysis on TechCrunch indicates that only 23 percent of venture-funded wearables companies got their start in crowdfunding — and only 19 wearables companies that crowd-raised more […]

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