New Pebble will be more customizable, but forget a fancy screen

The original Pebble. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

The original Pebble. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Pebble has finally begun teasing its next smartwatch ahead of an official unveiling next year, and according to Pebble evangelist Myriam Joire, it’s going to deliver “more everything.” It won’t only be prettier than its predecessors, but thinner, too — and it’ll offer a whole new level of customization.

Pebble has been incredibly popular since it raised over $10.2 million on Kickstarter way back in May 2012, but more than two years on, it hasn’t really changed. Sure, there’s a newer model with a fancier, stainless steel design — but it’s essentially exactly the same as original under the hood.

With impressive new competition from Google, Samsung, and soon Apple flooding the market, smartwatch fans have been wondering how Pebble might counter the growing threat. It has already slashed prices and introduced new colors in an effort to boost sales, but that’s all short-term fix; Pebble has big plans for next year.

Joire says the company’s next wearable will be highly customizable. You can already swap the strap on your existing Pebble for any 22mm band, but the new model will give you even greater freedom. Asked if it could offer modular components like the upcoming Blocks wearable, Joire said, “It may do… Or it may not.”

Don’t expect the device to forget its roots, though; it will be “an evolution not a revolution,” Joire says, and it will maintain all of the things that have made the first Pebble watches so popular — including excellent battery life. That means its black and white e-ink screen will remain, unfortunately for some.

“Sure, we’d love to have an AMOLED screen but that wouldn’t deliver great battery life,” Joire said.

Pebble doesn’t believe that color displays and other fancy features are needed to compete with devices like the Apple Watch. In fact, Pebble sales has risen since Apple unveiled its first wearable back in September, but Joire doesn’t believe the two should be considered close competitors.

“I don’t think Apple sees us as a competitor,” she said, pointing to the “four pillars” of Pebble’s brand: long battery life, cross-platform compatibility, affordability, and waterproofing. Apple has said that its Watch will be water-resistant, but it cannot match the Pebble in the other three areas.