Product news: the Pebble smartwatch, the project that raised the most money ever on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, has gone into mass production and is set to begin shipping on 23 January.
Pebble Technology CEO Eric Migicovsky made the announcement yesterday in a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which was broadcast to the project's backers via a live stream that you can watch here.
"We'll be manufacturing at the top rate of 15,000 Pebbles per week," he said, meaning it will take six to eight weeks to ship products to the project's backers, after which the company will begin fulfilling pre-orders placed via their website.
New features announced include a magnetometer for compass-like functions and ambient light sensors, plus an accelerometer so the back-light can be activated by tapping or flicking the wrist.
The Pebble smartwatch syncs with an iPhone or Android device, allowing users to wirelessly operate the phone and alerting them to incoming calls, text messages, emails and push notifications from apps. It can also tell the time.
The production version has a 32 millimeter LCD screen with a monochrome, back-lit e-paper display covered by a polycarbonate lens. The interface is controlled by buttons on the sides, with "up", "select" and "down" functions on the right and the "back" button on the left.
It's waterproof enough to wear swimming thanks to a magnetic charger that means there are no holes in the case and it runs for seven days on one charge. It comes in red, white, black, orange and grey, and the polyurethane strap can be interchanged with any standard watch strap.
In May 2012, Pebble became the most funded Kickstarter project of all time and raised $10,266,845 from 68,929 people in just over one month. The product was originally meant to ship in September 2012, but the company blamed the missed deadline on the unexpectedly high numbers they had to produce after the funding campaign's runaway success.
Interest in watches that sync with phones has been growing, with rumours speculating that Apple may be working on a smartwatch and products like the LunaTik for converting an iPod into a watch already on the market. See all our stories about watches.
Another product launch that's been attracting a lot of attention at the Consumer Electroncs Show, which continues until tomorrow, is a fork for dieters that vibrates when you eat too much or too fast.
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