Will Google Glass be the next big thing?

Pebble Inventor: Google Glass isn't the next big thing

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In April 2012, the smartwatch project "Pebble" started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. They wanted to earn 100,000 dollars in order to be able to put the wristwatch with e-paper display and smartphone connection in production. It ultimately became one of the most successful campaigns to date, with total revenues of over $ 10 million. The WebStandard spoke to Pebble inventor Eric Migicovsky at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

Invented in the dormitory

The idea for the watch, says Migicovsky, came to him five years ago. "I stood in my student room and wanted to know what was happening on my cell phone without taking my cell phone out of my pocket," was the unspectacular explanation. The result is now over 100,000 watches sold worldwide.

Above all, the Kickstarter brought a lot of ideas. "You have to listen to people and deal with how they want to use a smartwatch every day," explains the startup founder. The feedback flowed into the development: It was ensured that the battery would last for five to seven days, the watch was waterproof and the bracelet could be exchanged. To this end, optimizations were made to the Pebble's interface.

"The phone is good at what it does"

Migicovsky does not think that a smartwatch can replace a smartphone. "A phone is good at what it does. You have a big display, a big keyboard, 3G connection, WiFi. Let it do its job and the watch supports it," he says. He himself uses, for example, a "watchface", that is, a time display that reveals what time it is on site and in his home country.

Of course, practically every telephone can do this, but such a feature is more convenient on a watch. "Micro-Interactions" is the name of the concept of outsourcing small activities such as reading newly received messages to the wrist.

"Were the first with the right recipe"

Migicovsky does not think that smartwatches will sell as well as smartphones. Rather, he expects them to develop into a "mass niche". At the moment, many people still carry portable devices with individual functions with them - such as fitness trackers or GPS watches. In the future, they will be replaced by products that combine all of their features. Nevertheless, everyone will continue to use them in the way that they can best use them.

Pebble wasn't the first smartwatch on the market, stresses Migicovsky. Microsoft made one, as did Motorola and LG. "But we were the first to build one with the right recipe."

No successor in planning yet

No one is currently thinking about a successor. "We are still in a phase in which the limits of the product are still being explored," he explains. The community behind the Pebble does this by developing new apps. That is why they are currently "extremely focused" on creating and expanding a developer ecosystem.

Glass is not the "next big thing"

Migicovsky does not rule out that his company could also devote itself to other wearable products, even if one remains exclusively connected to the Pebble in the meantime. Migicovsky is closely following other developments in the field of wearable electronics. Also Google's augmented reality glasses "Glass", which, in his opinion, will not be the "next big thing".

"I've tried Glass. It's interesting," he says. But it doesn't meet my expectations for product design that fits into people's lives. Google Glass forces you to change your behavior. That makes it difficult and cumbersome. It's not something we would build. "(Georg Pichler, derStandard.at, November 22, 2013)