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Pebble and Windows Phone 8

Being part of the Nokia Innovation team means that sometimes you get great devices to play with, sometimes for long periods of time. Since joining this esteemed gang of merry men, I’ve enjoyed trying out all kinds of Nokia devices, ranging from the snappy Lumia 810 to the not-so-often-seen Nokia N950, the unreleased qwerty keyboard version of the N9, and the Lumia 925, Nokia’s prettiest Lumia yet.

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But aside from Nokia products, we also have great links with AT&T and so via them, we are able to test out other devices in the interesting world of tech. And it has been my pleasure to spend the week wearing the first-gen Pebble watch.

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I’ve been quietly interested in Pebble since they hit the scene a little while ago, but unfortunately, there is no official Windows Phone app at the moment. While iPhone and Android users get to enjoy all the benefits of the Pebble, we can still use some of its features, by way of the app called ‘Pebble Watch Pro’ available in the Windows Phone Store for $1.99

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The Pebble is a comfortable watch to wear, and it is very easy to use. The watch can be charged up using the magnetic to USB cable and it has lasted me all week without needing a recharge, which I think is pretty impressive.

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The interface is very basic. Even without all the functionality of the iPhone/Android app, the screen has a very low resolution and is monochrome; no fancy Galaxy Gear type watch faces here.

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But it is functional. By ensuring that Pebble Watch Pro is running in the foreground of your phone, you can happily tuck it away in a deep pocket and still be able to skip forward or backward or pause music tracks you are listening to. The watch gives you the basic options of play/pause, next and previous tracks, but I’m happy to report that while battling the New York subway and the cold streets, I have been able to happily use the Pebble to do these tasks while I am all bundled up in jackets, coats, scarves and gloves.

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Rather cruelly, the app also allows you to test out demonstrations of what it would be like if full functionality existed, by allowing you to send ‘test’ email and text alerts directly to the Pebble. This is all well and good, but then just annoys you because that actual capability isn’t present. Right now. Hopefully by hook or by crook, Windows Phone owners will see a Pebble app this year. Indeed, Rafe Blandford mentioned on the most recent All About Windows Phone insight podcast that 2014 could be the year that WP8 gets to enjoy official apps from tech companies that produce these kinds of ‘wearables’. We’ve heard that FitBit are looking for someone to produce and manage a WP8 app, so it only seems natural that other players in this burgeoning sector of the tech market follow suit to ensure a wider consumer base, despite the very high percentage of smartphone users being iPhone or Android owners. Although I really wouldn’t put any money on there being any BlackBerry apps forthcoming! (Now that was just mean of me).

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Overall, the Pebble is a good looking watch with a modern design that I have enjoyed wearing and that I’ve received positive comments about. But as for working alongside my Lumia 1020, it seems churlish to moan and groan about there not being an official app, because it is still very early days. However, despite @tnkgrl’s repeated mention of the difficulty for Pebble producing an app for Windows Phone due to restrictive Bluetooth protocols and a lack of notification capability with these devices, I am sure things will change at the beginning of the summer when we see a widespread adoption of Windows Phone 8.1 when hopefully, the possibilities will become closer to being realities with a newer focus on making these kinds of gadgets work harmoniously with Microsoft’s mobile OS.

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Time will tell.

Ha! Time? Geddit?!  ;^)

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