Pebble announces SDK 2.0 and better iOS notifications

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Date: Friday, November 8th, 2013, 08:28
Category: Accessory, Announcement, Consumer Electronics, Gadget

Pebble_notificationsWednesday morning, via streaming video, Pebble’s CEO Eric Migicovsky opened up the presentation with an overview of the upcoming additions to the Pebble smart-watch’s capabilities which will be unlocked with the release of the Pebble SDK (Software Development Kit) version 2.0. You can read the main points from his introduction on the Pebble Blog, which also includes numbers on Pebble sales as well as active app developers. The majority of the remaining announcement was aimed purely at developers, and talked extensively about the programming details of the new SDK. If you missed it, you can watch a video recording of the entire announcement on Pebble’s channel over at YouTube.

Possibly the most exciting announcement was the addition of the following APIs (Application Programming Interface) which will add a ton of new features.

  • Javascript
  • Accelerometer
  • Data Logging
  • Persistent Storage

These APIs will give developers access to components that, up until now, were essentially hidden within the shiny, colored cases. A good example of this is the Pebble’s BlueTooth LE radio, which has been quietly waiting to be turned on. Currently, the Pebble uses standard Bluetooth to connect to an iOS or Android device, which drains the battery faster (more so on the phone than the Pebble). Using BlueTooth LE (or Low Energy) means not only longer battery life for both devices, but also that the Pebble can keep a continuous connection to your phone rather than periodically checking for communication from it. This could also open the door for actual two-way communication directly between the devices. Currently, the watch requires an application running on your phone that bridges the communication between the two. This method often leads to disconnections and other quirks that make the experience less than ideal. One of the things that Pebble says this will improve greatly is notifications in iOS 7. Most of the notifications available on the iPhone now are limited to alerts from the core apps such as email, texts, and caller ID. With the new SDK, developers will be able to make other apps talk to the Pebble. The company hopes to roll out native apps for iControl, Foursquare, GoPro and Yelp, just to name a few. It is yet to be seen how all these notifications are going to be managed and whether you can independently choose which ones are going to your phone, and which are going to the Pebble. I’d say there is quite a lot of Pebble developments to look forward to, and there may be a number of folk who will regret selling their Pebbles on eBay.

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