Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

From Kickstarter to Best Buy: A Smart Watch's Journey

The Pebble smart watch has risen from being reliant on crowd-funding to appearing on shelves at a mass-market retailer.

  • July 2, 2013

Here’s a new sign of Kickstarter’s legitmacy as a launchpad for new gadgets and of growing enthusiasm for smart watches: Pebble Technology, which last year raised $10.2 million for its smart watch on the crowd-funding platform, said Tuesday that consumer electronics retailer Best Buy will start selling the device.

Smart Watch: The Pebble watch got started thanks to crowd-funding (Credit: Pebble)
Smart Watch: The Pebble watch got started thanks to crowd-funding (Credit: Pebble)

The black version of the Pebble is already available on Best Buy’s website, and it will be available at the retailer’s stores across the U.S. from Sunday for $150. Best Buy also plans to start selling a red version of the watch next month.

Pebble, which works with iPhones or late-model Android smartphones, has a black-and-white e-paper screen. It can alert the wearer of incoming calls and emails to his or her phone, and also be loaded with third-party apps to do things like pedometer-style activity monitoring. People that backed Pebble on Kickstarter began receiving their devices in January, and since then it has also been available for general “pre-order” on the company’s website for $150. Those orders are slated to ship this summer.

While it wasn’t the first smart watch to hit the market, the Pebble was the first to gain widespread appreciation. That has opened the door for other new companies, as well as for consumer electronics giants to launch smart watches. It also seems to have helped revive Sony’s smart watches, which the company has made for years without significant traction. Given how limited physical shelf space is, availability of the Pebble through Best Buy shows just how rapidly the market has shifted in favor of smart watches (and, potentially, other wearable devices like Google Glass). It also shows how seriously traditional retail is taking success on Kickstarter. Confirmation that signal is worth paying attention to will require waiting to see if people actually go to the store and buy Pebble watches.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.