Pebble Time on track for May shipping, but with some features missing


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The Pebble Time clearly isn’t a typical Kickstarter project. Not only is it the most-funded campaign ever, it’s also going to ship on time for most backers.

Pebble says mass production on its second-generation smartwatch begins this week, with yields hitting full capacity by mid-May. As planned, Pebble will ship to most backers in the May reward tier this month. (The company says some later backers in this tier will have to wait until early June.)

The first software release will include Pebble’s new “timeline” interface, which sorts events into “Past,” “Present,” and “Future” categories that correspond to different buttons on the watch. The new watches will also have expanded app storage, a new built-in Sports app, new color system apps, and voice replies for Android notifications. At launch, notifications for Hangouts, Facebook, email, and Twitter will be color-coded, and Pebble says it will add more over time.

On the downside, not all Pebble Time features will be intact by the time the first smartwatches arrive. Pebble is still working on voice response to Gmail notifications in iOS, the Voice notes app, the Stocks app, the Weather watchface, and album art support in the Music app. There’s no word on exactly when these features will be ready.

Pebble also isn’t talking about when it will update existing watches to the new Timeline interface, or the shipping details for Pebble Time Steel, which is scheduled to arrive in July. It’s also unclear when Pebble Time pre-orders will open to non-backers.

Why this matters: While crowdfunded projects have a reputation for shipping late (if they ship at all), but Pebble has more experience than the typical campaign, having been through the process (delays and all) once before. With the Apple Watch experiencing its own delays, it looks both watches should arrive for many early adopters at just about the same time.

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