Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Review: Smartwatch Pro and Smartwatch+ (SDK1)

 Smartwatch+, (modified) inverted and including weeknumber.

Smartwatch Pro is a watchface, Smartwatch+ is an app (now also a watchface). I use iSmoothrun twice a day, and Smartwatch Pro automatically goes over to the Sport app, while Smartwatch + required me to leave the Smartwatch+ app before the Pebble would open the Sport app... so Smartwatch Pro was just a touch more convenient. This has changed in later updates, and a Smartwatch+ watchface is now available.

Smartwatch Pro (modified) with larger text and showing weeknumber.

I have been using Smartwatch Pro as the screen real estate is used to show calendar events and time, while the Smartwatch+ app uses screen real estate to also show current weather. As I use the Danish weather service on the iPhone to check coming weather forecasts (rather than current weather) I have been using Smartwatch Pro. If Smartwatch+ would show accurate weather forecasts instead, I would consider using Smartwatch+ again as forecast on the wrist would be very convenient.

Otherwise both apps are superb, and apart from the above points I would have a hard time choosing. Both are being upgraded to SDK2, and I suggest supporting both developers by buying their apps and trying them out - I often alternate!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

iSmoothrun now with Pebble integration

iSmoothrun GPS app for iPhone has finally been successful with introducing Pebble compatibility for its app. While RunKeeper is a fantastic app, iSmoothrun offers more of the functions I need, is faster and with a better interface IMHO, and still allows uploading to RunKeeper so I can keep all of my activities over the last years together.

The app automatically changes to speed (km/h) when I am recording a a cycling activity, and pace (min/km) or heartbeat when recording a running activity. It is also compatible with the Danish (European) iPhone setup - under RunKeeper I had to set up using US settings to eliminate the Runkeeper "box" bug in the display when using Runkeeper, and then change back to the Danish settings afterwards. This is a great improvement!

I met a friend while out running yesterday and was able to pause and leave the Pebble/iSmoothrun screen, go to the music screen and stop the podcast I was listening to, restart the podcast and return to iSmoothrun and continue my run without issues - all without digging my iPhone out of my backpack!

The current version only allows (heartbeat or) current pace, which is delayed by about 10-15s so only really useful if you run relatively consistently. However, I understand average pace or workout average pace may be an option in future versions.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pebble Smartwatch at Berlin Marathon 2013: Watchnote, Smartwatch Pro and iSmoothrun.

I would like to share my very positive user-experience using the Pebble Smartwatch at the Berlin Marathon 2013:

(click photo to enlarge)

Before leaving for Berlin by train from Denmark, I made a note in Watchnote app for Pebble with all the details of train times to and from Berlin, bus routes, hotel adress, trams to and from the hotel to the starting line etc. and sorted them in chronological order. This was amazingly convenient as I could stand in the crowded trains passages with a bag in my hand and call up the next train departure time and number, making it easy to scan the bulletin boards without having to dig up my iPhone each time. On the trams I could check where to change trams without having to stand up an extricate my iPhone.

I had set up my iPhone calendar with my agenda, showing where I needed to be next, allowing me to keep on schedule using Smartwatch Pro watchface: race-number pickup at Tempelhof, check in to Hotel (tram number) already on my wrist, when to head off to meet up with friends (tram number again!) etc.

On race morning, my Pebble vibrated me awake 5 minutes before my iPhone went off, allowing me to collect my thoughts in peace without waking anybody else. Smartwatch Pro watchface told me when to quit breakfast and which tram to catch. A quick reboot and re-pair of iPhone and Pebble to be on the safe side and then race-time: iSmoothrun for iPhone worked flawlessly with Pebble to keep me on pace, and let me know when I was flagging! I had my iPhone on a reserve battery in my Camelback, a Bluetooth earpiece to hear split times and the Pebble running full time. After 4.5 hours the iPhone was 100% charged, the earpiece had gone from 11 to 10 hours talk time and the Pebble was still going strong with no weak battery indicator.

All in all, a great succes for technology, and a perfect example of what the Pebble can be used for! Kudos to the dedicated developers who give us apps like iSmoothrun, Watchnote and Smartwatch Pro and allow the Pebble to reach its potential!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pebble Smartwach - status after the first month.

Once the initial newness of the Pebble subsided, I have settled down into a prioritized use pattern. It would be interesting to see what people are actually using their Pebbles for, and whether the Pebble lives up to these requirements. For me, my prioritized list is as follows:

  1. Running/cycling app integration with iPhone (iSmoothrun) - works perfectly, toggling between current and average pace would be nice
  2. Audiobook/Music control access (Built - in app) - works perfectly, volume control would be nice.
  3. SMS/call notification (Built - in app) - works perfectly, volume control and stable caller-id would be nice.
  4. Timekeeping: day/date/weeknumber and calendar with weeknumbers (Engweek & Calendar) - works perfectly, looking forward to being able to customize a watchface with weeknumber at update.
  5. Turn-by-turn directions for city walking (Google Maps) - works perfectly.

These are my need-to-haves, on-the-fly functions where it is a huge advantage not to have to dig out my iPhone, unlock and tap through to what I am looking for. For everything else (specifically, actions which take more than a few seconds, such as checking and reading mails) I find I am perfectly covered by accessing my iPhone directly. Accordingly, I feel that the Pebble lives up to my requirements already, although I am looking forward to the improvements outlined above.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Jet Black Pebble on olive green military strap; QR-code functionality and first impressions

My Jet Black Pebble arrived today, and I fitted it to a green military watchband which allowed me to use the Pebble while working on the car and in the garden without worrying about scratching it. For office use I will be using it on an olive-green NATO/G-10 strap, although I will ultimately replace this with an olive-green NATO with PVD hardware:

Here are some of the screens I am using, I used the Watchface Generator at to generate a QR-code which links to my important contact details:

Finally, I tried some of the functionality, and everything seems to be working well (a single RunKeeper display glitch), although I am looking forward to not having to manually connect notifications every time I loose bluetooth connection:

It would be nice to get iSmoothrun support, as this is my favorite running app - I understand Pebble support is ready from iSmoothrun's side and will get to us as soon as Pebble gives the go-ahead.