Pebble CEO hints at more than just wearable hardware

Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel

Credit: Michael Homnick

As the smartwatch market floods with new devices from Samsung, LG, Motorola and possibly Apple, Pebble may be eying a move into software.

Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky hinted at building a broader wearable platform for other device makers, as opposed to just making more of its own smartwatches.

“In five years, more and more devices that you wear on your body will be ... either Pebble-made or Pebble-powered,” Migicovsky said. “Pebble is one of the only operating systems in the world that is purpose-designed to run on a wearable.”

Migicovsky’s comments on the Pebble operating system—and particularly the phrase “Pebble-powered”—suggest that Pebble doesn’t see much use in competing directly with larger hardware vendors. Instead, Pebble may seek to join them by offering another platform to work with.

A platform play might make sense given that smartwatch makers don’t have a lot of other options right now. Device makers who don’t build their own software—as Apple and Samsung are doing—are basically stuck with Google’s Android Wear platform, which only works in tandem with Android phones and doesn’t allow for much differentiation from one device to the next. Pebble, by comparison, supports both iOS and Android, and Migicovsky spoke of “an open platform that people can hack on top of.”

That’s not to say it’ll be smooth sledding for Pebble. As a third-party peripheral, Pebble is at the whim of Apple and Google, and will never be as tightly integrated as those companies’ own wearable devices. And as users become more heavily invested in either iOS or Android, they may not care so much about a wearable platform that supports both. Even as part of a broad range of wearable devices, Pebble may never escape niche status, but it beats trying to outsell a dozen other companies with hardware alone.

This story, "Pebble CEO hints at more than just wearable hardware" was originally published by TechHive.

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