The Pebble Core is a very interesting device. It is the first non-smartwatch device that Pebble is releasing and is also their first device that runs android. The company is positioning it as an accessory for athletes that want GPS inbuilt to their fitness trackers or just want to leave their phone behind.
The device is a small cube-shaped gadget reminiscent to the iPod shuffle. It also has its own 3G radio, a headphone jack, can send text messages or make phone calls and can connect to other devices using Wifi or Bluetooth.
All in all its a very capable device but nothing really stood out about from anything else up until the latest announcement. It turns out that Pebble has snagged a partnership with Amazon to put Alexa on the device. The presence of Amazon’s highly rated AI program on the device just put a lot many more tricks in its arsenal.
Users now have the option of ordering stuff from Amazon. Setting reminders for themselves, asking the device for any trivia, hailing an Uber, listening to Spotify or other compatible music apps, reading out the headlines to you and control other smart gadgets in your home.
Amazon seems to have given Alexa on Pebble all the capabilities that it has on the Echo or other upcoming Amazon devices. It is something that will provide a consistent message to the users about the capabilities Alexa have instead of having to learn what it can do with each new device.
In fact, this addition of Alexa makes the Pebble core the first wireless and completely independent device to boast of such integration. The company has been very open about the fact that it is designing a gadget that will appeal to fitness enthusiasts and hackers.
Pebble is hoping that these hackers will make use of increased compatibility because of the android software and Alexa integration to make it a hub for their smart home. It is a smart move by Pebble that is trying to test the IoT waters and for Amazon as well which is continuing on the path of making Alexa as open and accessible to third party applications as possible.
Amazon is currently in the middle of trying to gain as much ground as possible before Google and Apple enter the space. All of this though does not mean that the Pebble core is perfect. It is still another whole device to carry around without actually providing any complete experiences on its own. It does not have a screen which makes glancing at any added information that the GPS has collected impossible without pairing it to a smartphone or a desktop app.
Curiously, it also does not have a microphone. That means that users will be required to have headphones with a mic or a Bluetooth headphone to be able to hear what Alexa has to say. This makes us think that Pebble only managed to finalize the deal with Amazon after the device had been designed and built, otherwise it’s just a glaring design error.
History has also taught us that Alexa works best with the Echo and can struggle with other third party devices. Hopefully, Pebble would have been able to work out some kinks.
There is no doubt that the addition of Alexa on the Pebble core will help it differentiate from all other fitness trackers on the market. It also means that the Core will continue to get smarter as Alexa does, something that Amazon seems very committed to doing at the moment.