Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014, 08:00
Category: Accessory, Features, iOS, Software, User Interface, Wearables
Last Wednesday, Pebble deployed the latest update to the firmware of the Pebble smartwatch. The Pebble iOS app was updated the week before on May 27th bringing it to version 2.2, not to be confused with the firmware for the watch itself which is once again in sync with the app’s version.
The two biggest changes were some new features, the ability to reorder the Launcher Menu, and the ability to control the sound volume on your iPhone or other device from the watch’s Music app. Accessing the new options is easy, however, not very intuitive. In both cases, the new function is triggered by holding down the center button on the right side of the watch. While in the Launcher Menu (which you get to from the watchface by clicking once on the same button), select the item you wish to move and hold the center button until the selected item starts wiggling, much like the icons do on iDevices when you opt to move or delete an app. The selected item will also take on a slight shadow as if hovering over the other items. Press the top and bottom buttons on the right side to move the item up or down respectively within the list. Once done, press the center button to halt the wiggling. To move another items, repeat the process after selecting the new item you want to move. This was a feature I really wanted as some of my watch’s apps that I use frequently appeared near the bottom of the list (according to the order they were loaded onto the watch) requiring lots of button presses to navigate to the one I wanted to use.
Pebble also provided a quick Vine video of how to reorder the Launcher Menu, although it goes kind of fast (Note: no need to bother enabling sound for the videos).
To change you devices volume, you utilize the same buttons in the same way, except that with the Music app, things are a little different. With the Music app, the top and bottom buttons are already used for skipping song tracks back and forward. By holding down the center button for about 2 seconds, the skip functions change to volume up and down until you hold down the center button again to switch back. What is really nice is that the watch provides some feedback for when the swap occurs with a quick vibration, so once you know how to do it, you really don’t even need to look at your watch to change functions back and forth. Another nice touch is that the Music app shows a song progress bar at the bottom, however this apparently only appears if your watch is paired with an iOS device.
Here’s the video showing the function swap and the progress bar.
The full release notes for the firmware and the iOS app sport the following changes;
Pebble Firmware 2.2 (Release Notes)
- The Launcher Menu is now re-orderable. Hold the Select button to re-position a menu item.
- Volume control in the Music app. Hold the Select button while in the app to launch volume controls.
- Music app redesigned: fixes layout issues and adds a track progress bar (progress bar is iOS only).
- Alarm now vibrates for 10 minutes instead of 1 minute.
- Bug fixes and stability improvements.
iOS Pebble App 2.2 (Release Notes)
- Support for new volume controls in Pebble firmware v2.2.
- Added iBeacon support, using Bluetooth Low Energy to know when the Pebble and iOS device are in close proximity to each other. GPS location is not recorded, and impact on battery life is negligible.
I’m pretty pleased with this update, actually solving two problems I had while also reassuring me that the Pebble still has some growth potential in terms of features. The only issue I still have is that my iOS app always tells me that notifications are not set up, yet I still get all my notifications. I’ve fixed it before by telling my Pebble to “forget” the pairing with my iPhone, and then re-pair them again. I haven’t bothered to try it out again since it’s actually working.
So, what do you think of the new features? What features would you like to see Pebble add next? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.