Google’s new Android Wear operating system might be the new kid on the block, but it’s not the only smart watch platform for developers. Arguably, the only viable smartwatch at the moment is the Pebble. With over 400,000 watches sold there’s plenty of users for developers to target, bringing new and interesting use cases to the emerging category of computing devices.
Not only has Pebble managed to attract enthusiast developers, but some bigger names as well like Mercedes and ESPN. Here are some of the best apps currently available for Pebble smartwatches. For those that don’t currently own a Pebble, some of the added functionality these apps bring, might be enough to enticement to make the jump.
It stands to reason that anyone with a Pebble smartwatch or anyone who’s even considering one, might also have Philips Hue smart bulbs. There are a few apps for controlling Hue lights directly from the watch, but Huebble is definitely the best. It has a clean and simple interface and still has hooks into all the features the lights offer. The app also has extras like setting the lights as a metronome, or putting them on a color loop, but above all Huebble works flawlessly. For the early adopters, there’s also the app Leaf for controlling your Nest thermostat.
There are lots of dedicated timer apps like ones for coffee, grilling, and brushing teeth, but since the watch is limited to 8 apps I find the general one Timer to be a great implementation. You can increase or decrease the time by 10 seconds so anything under 10 minutes doesn’t take too long to set and then once it starts has a countdown display. If you do have a few specific tasks you’re regularly timing you might also want to look at Multi Timer which allows you to have up to 10 preset times.
Pebble Locker is a more interesting take on the different uses someone can have for a smartwatch. When you have your Pebble watch near your phone, Pebble Locker disables your lock screen. When the bluetooth connection between the Pebble and your phone is broken because you walk out of range or forget it somewhere, the lock screen is restored. It’s the type of proximity security a lot of people are looking for and a more interesting take on why it’s worth while to wear a smart gadget on your wrist. Pebble locker also works with other bluetooth devices as well as specific WiFi networks, for example to disable security when you’re at home versus when you leave.
Until Nixon makes an official app, it looks like SpitCast Surf Report is your best option for getting the day’s waves on your wrist. The Pebble SpitCast app is being aggressively worked on and updated, with the latest version supporting some 300 locations in California. The app pulls GPS location from your phone so it knows the conditions for the closest location to you. Again, since the Pebble is waterproof, taking it surfing only makes sense.
Part of the appeals of the smartwatch is having multiple watches in one. One way to get around the limitation of 8 apps/faces loaded on the watch at a given is an app like Pebble Canvas. Not only can you switch through multiple faces within the one app, you can design and make your own and use it instantly.
It’s a full month-view calendar on your watch—simple as that. There are a few settings that can be toggled including week number, language, and displaying holidays. There are apps that will display Google calendar information, but for those looking for simplicity, Pebble Calendar 2.0 works nicely.
The general idea that you walk into a bar or restaurant and hit one button on your wrist to let people know you’re there has long been a dream of many Foursquare users. The watch app adds a little discreteness to letting the world where you are. Even though the app is fairly striped down and a simplified version of Foursquare on mobile, it does its job well.
Any time I need to justify a smartwatch to myself or others, the first thing I think is how much more convenient it makes listening to music or audio content. I don’t have to worry if the earphones I’m wearing have some play back controls or guessing if I’ve landed on the right track navigating three songs back. The default playback controls found on Pebble watches is limited to play/pause and skip forward and reverse. Adding other third party apps like the popular Music Boss or the newer Pebble Music adds functions to control volume, EQ, or even navigating songs/playlists.
The GoPro is a great camera, but it still needs a remote to take full advantage of some of the cool ways you can use it. Mounting it on a helmet or places out of easy reach make having the remote app on the Pebble an obvious addition. Even though the Pebble is waterproof and able to go all the places the GoPro can, the remote app still needs to communicate through your mobile device so keep that in mind while wind surfing. That doesn’t take anything away from how handy it is to have your remote right there on your wrist.
The Evernote mobile apps have gotten tremendously better over the last year and yet, still having to pull your phone out to check a list, phone number, or random note can be a pain. Having most the functionality of the service on your wrist, however, including the ability to check off items on a list, is fantastic and works extremely well. This is currently the top app to beat in both functionality and execution.