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On Tuesday at Mobile World Congress, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky announced a new version of Pebble Time, the Pebble Time Steel. Like the previous Pebble Steel, the Time Steel is a higher-end version of the smartwatch, and it’s available for preorder for $250.
The 40,000 people who preordered the Pebble Time for $159 or $179 can upgrade and keep their May delivery date. Migicovsky teased that the audience at Wearable World Congress, where Migicovsky will sit with me for an on-stage conversation on May 19, will likely be wearing Pebble Times if they got their preorders in.
Wrist-To-Wrist With Apple
It’s in Pebble’s best interest to lock in those orders, because the Apple Watch is coming in April. Migicovsky has an answer for that. Pebble already lets developers build apps for its smartwatches. Now it’s going to let others build hardware for Pebbles, too.
What kind of accessory can you put on a smartwatch? Well, Pebble already sells straps. For the Pebble Time and Time Steel, you can now build what Migicovsky calls a “smartstrap.”
The smartstraps attach to the Pebble’s charging port, exchanging both data and power, which Migicovsky says is a first. One kind of smartstrap could be a battery that extends a Pebble’s working life. Another smartstrap type might be a heart-rate sensor that draws power from the Pebble’s battery instead. A GPS sensor could turn a Pebble smartwatch into a fitness tracker that can monitor runs without tethering to a phone—something the Apple Watch won’t be able to do at launch.
“When you start adding sensors, it makes the phone bigger,” Migicovsky told me. “You don’t need that GPS all day, you only need it for particular situations.”
Migicovsky argues that it will be far easier to create a smartstrap than a standalone device or an all-in-one smartwatch with more built-in features: “The sensor doesn’t need a battery, doesn’t need a charger, doesn’t need a microcontroller.”
Smartstraps will be easy to hack on, he promises.
“We’ll have a few things you have to sign,” Migicovsky said. “If you’re a hacker and want to create hardware that works with it, go for it. I bet someone’s going to make an Arduino smart strap.”
A Wired-In Platform
In the past, Migicovsky has talked about Pebble’s smartwatches acting as a hub for other connected devices, bypassing smartphones. But that vision relied on the very newest Bluetooth technology, which isn’t seeing widespread adoption in the marketplace yet.
Migicovsky said Pebble “hasn’t set a date yet” for Bluetooth connectivity, but “it’s on the roadmap.” For now, smartstraps are the way to build on Pebble hardware.
Pebble is also taking care of the 26,000 developers it has signed up to build apps for its watches. The Pebble Time will run older apps, for those who don’t care to update for the Time’s new color screen. And in June or July, Pebble plans to release a software update for its older watches that will let them run the same software as the Time.
“We can’t say we’ll support the old hardware forever,” said Migicovsky. But the company is trying very hard to treat developers well. “That’s all that really matters: developers and users,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how many preorders Pebble draws for the Pebble Time Steel. It’s now $1.3 million short of the current record for a Kickstarter campaign. And it will also be crucial to see how swiftly developers and hardware makers create new apps and smartstraps.
If Pebble succeeds in competing with Apple, it won’t be by building something sleeker or more powerful. It will win by being more open.
Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky is speaking at Wearable World Congress on May 19. Order your tickets now and get $100 off the early-bird price by using the code READWRITE.
Product and promo images courtesy of Pebble; all other photos by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite
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Here is a look at some common mistakes in the SEO world, and recommendations for how to deal with these issues so you don’t repeat the same missteps.
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Google News now is considering Reddit, the popular user-generated news site, to be a worthy news source for Google. If you search for [dunkin donuts] in Google, a box with news items comes up in the “In The News” section. As tipped to us by Dan Leveille, the first item listed is a…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Google News now is considering Reddit, the popular user-generated news site, to be a worthy news source for Google. If you search for [dunkin donuts] in Google, a box with news items comes up in the “In The News” section. The first item listed is a Reddit link to an image showing how…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Big companies talk about “operating like a startup,” but few actually do. Hamstrung by bureaucracy and organizational friction, the Fortune 500 make lots of money but generally play it safe with technology, buying from the same incumbent vendors they’ve always used.
Or do they?
I wanted to dig into the technology choices the world’s biggest companies use, and see how they compare to the technologies our leading startups use, as per Leo Polovets’ findings. The TL;DR? Bigger is definitely not better when it comes to technology.
Discovering What The Fortune 500 Buys
There is no easy way to discern the various technologies a large corporation like Chevron might be using. After all, the bigger the corporation, the more glacial its technology approval processes are likely to be as the company seeks to retain control of the flow of technology into and out of the company.
Within such bastions of inertia, shadow IT—that is, technology deployed without the knowledge, much less approval, of the IT department—reigns. As I’ve written, shadow IT is at least 10 times as big as we assume. Skyhigh Networks, which helps companies root out and track shadow IT, found companies that assume they have ~90 systems actually have over 1,000.
In other words, no matter what an enterprise reports in terms of technology adoption, the number is almost certainly way off. About the only thing the CIO will know for sure is how much money she pours into mega-vendors like Oracle and HP each year.
Jobs As A Proxy For Technology Adoption
One way to figure out which technologies a company uses is to analyze their job postings. While imperfect for all the reasons stated above, jobs reveal significant interest in a technology, evincing more than a passing phase by a random department buried in the bowels of the corporation.
So who is the Fortune 500 hiring?
See also: How To Code Like A Startup
Using Polovets’ list of hot startup technologies, and punching the top five technologies into a search of all Fortune 500 job postings, along with a sixth column (where applicable) for a highly popular enterprise technology as comparison, we get the following:
Not surprisingly, enterprises use proportionately less of the hottest startup technology than those startups do.
Take, for example, databases. Polovets’ analysis of AngelList data shows huge adoption of MySQL and virtually none for Oracle. While MySQL has a respectable showing in Fortune 500 jobs data, its presence is a fraction of Oracle’s.
Or take programming languages:
Assuming startup technology is a leading indicator of tomorrow’s enterprise adoption, what should the Fortune 500 be doing?
Embrace The Shadow
Cisco and HP are among the Fortune 500 that have figured out ways to track adoption of new technologies and embrace them. According to the Wall Street Journal, these and other companies have turned to tools like the aforementioned Skyhigh Networks to track shadow IT.
But rather than block it, they’re looking to embrace it.
While it’s likely easier to track services like Amazon Web Services than, say, adoption of Elasticsearch, savvy enterprises will figure out where their technology portfolios are heading by tapping into the technology their innovators are using, and embracing it.
Lead image of “depressed dinosaur” spotted on the Internet, source unknown
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Yelp redesigned its look and feel to give more space to imagery and make accessing information about a local business or place simpler. With a new image carousel and more space for review content, Yelp has finally capitalized on the power of imagery.
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