Pebble was making huge advancements, and it wasn't going unnoticed. Approximately 30 seconds after Apple announced the iPad — the length of time it took most analysts to put down their beverages and reach for their keyboards — the "what's next?" questions began to surface, with a television being one contender, and an "iWatch" being another. Big screen and small, Apple was expected to cover the whole spectrum. Steve Jobs had already joked that Apple board members, on seeing the square iPod nano, had wanted to strap it to their wrists, and a variety of accessory makers jumped on the market to help owners do just that. It wasn't smart. It wasn't connected. But it was absolutely testing the waters.
Motorola took it one step further with their MOTOACTIV an iPod nano-looking product with a built-in band and a focus on fitness. Google later bought Motorola and, of course, rumors of a Google watch surfaced just as fast.
Nike Fuelbands, Fitbit Forces, Jawbone Ups — the fitness band field began to evolve quickly. And then came Samsung.
The Pebble team not only has years of experience — and cross-platform support — behind them, but put both focus and compatibility at the top of their priorities.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear launched in the summer of 2013, initially working only with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, but since expanding to work with the Galaxy S4 and other Samsung smartphones. It has a color display. It has a camera. And a touchscreen. And it has Samsung's billions of dollars of marketing muscle behind it.
Yet Samsung's current strategy seems to be to throw as many products and features at customers just to see what sticks. And Apple, which has thus far shown much more focus, will almost certainly limit an iWatch to Apple's own ecosystem, and likely even limit what an iWatch can do. Migicovsky and the Pebble team not only have years of experience — and cross-platform support — behind them, but put both focus and compatibility at the top of their priorities.
"Pebble is still the standard for iPhone and Android compatibility," Migicovsky said. "And if you're going to get a watch, you're going to get one that works with your phone. Which is a Pebble."
Rather than underestimating the competition, however, he sees it increasing, both for watch-as-companion devices that piggyback on the connectivity and power of a smartphone, and for watch-as-primary-device that try to cram everything, including the complete Android operating system and a full complement of radios, right into the watch.
By making Pebble its own platform, with its own community, they can also make it not only something that appeals to non-Apple, non-Samsung customers, not only to people who want to be able to change phones and keep the same watch, but to people who might even be watch-first in other ways.
Absent the legacy of the Apples and Samsungs and absent historical products and interfaces which are as limiting as they are enabling, Migicovsky feels Pebble is free to think just exactly that way. As a watch-first, wearable-first company.