As promised, Pebble began shipping its iPhone-connected watch on Wednesday, but in a very limited capacity. Only about 500 units are on their way to early Kickstarter backers, and only the black model is being manufactured right now.
Palettes (or at least a palette) of Pebble watches are finally shipping
The company promised during a press event at CES in January that the watch would start shipping on January 23, and it is living up to that promise even if the number of units shipping is well below the 85,000 sold during the Kickstarter funding phase.
The Pebble smartwatch is a wearable technology gadget that uses a Bluetooth link to display information from your iPhone or Android smartphone. It uses a custom operating system that supports third-party apps for customizing its functions, is water proof, has a 7-day rechargeable battery, a 1.26-inch display, and is available in several color choices.
The first shipment wave was limited to 500 thanks to a documentation issue that has more watches stuck at the airport instead of on their way to the fulfillment center. The company hasn't been able to ramp up to its 2,400 unit per day target on the assembly line, and is currently making between 800 and 1,000 watches a day.
They're also limiting production to the black model saying in a Kickstarter post,
Right now at the beginning of the manufacturing run, we're building batches of 1 colour at a time. Since black was by far the most popular colour, we started with a run of black Pebbles. I realize that this is different than what I said before...while we would have liked to be able to ship out all the colours at the exact same time, it's proven to be impossible.
Pebble buyers that ordered other colors won't, however, have to wait until all of the initial black orders are fulfilled. The company plans to start building units in other colors before wrapping up the black run.
The Pebble team showing off the watch at CES 2013
The company's companion app for the iPhone is available now, too. The app installs and removes custom apps from the Pebble watch, manages software updates, and more. The Pebble Smartwatch app is free and is available at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
Kickstarter backers will get their Pebble watch first. Everyone else hoping to put one on their wrist can pre-order at the Pebble website for US$150.