Pebble's new smartwatch is coming in a few months, but innovative smart straps could be what makes thestand out from the competition. Pebble's CEO Eric Migicovsky explained earlier this month that the Pebble Time and Time Steel watches will work with that connect with an underside connector port. But what would these smart-strap accessories look like, and what could they do?
Today Pebble announced a million-dollar fund to help create these straps, with further details to come on their website about how strap ideas can be submitted. It's not clear how funds will get distributed, but Pebble has revealed two early concepts for smart straps: one from Spark.io, the other from SeeedStudio.
Seeed Studio will be making a strap connector that links Pebble Time to their own set of Arduino-compatible Xadow modules, little snap-on pieces of tech that range from GPS modules to heart rate sensors to NFC. Theoretically, each extra sensor accessory could be snapped on and off the band as needed, as seen above.
Spark Electron, from Spark.io, is a completely different idea: it's a cellular-connected strap with SIM card that could let the Pebble Time run of a cellular data network. For what? Who knows. The prototype pictured above is the very definition of early prototype, and basically is a concept for glomming Spark's existing cellular data wearable Kickstarter project onto the Pebble Time. But it shows that these smart straps could end up being a territory for makers and hackers.
Will major manufacturers end up making smart straps that feel like something people would want to buy, or will these straps end up being a hacker's paradise? Maybe both. That's how Pebble's own app landscape got on its feet. Pebble is clearly taking a similar approach to its straps.