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Wearable Tech

Pebble Time gets GPS and longer battery life with new 'smart strap'

The Pal smart strap is available now for preorder on Kickstarter.

A Hong Kong-based company has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a "smartstrap" that aims to add up to a week of battery life to the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel. Powerstrap on Tuesday introduced the Pal, a $79 strap for Pebble smartwatches that extends battery life and adds GPS.

Every Pebble Time smartwatch features a small accessory port on the back that can be used to extend the watch's capabilities. All you have to do is snap in one of these smart straps to add new features to your watch. In the past we have seen smart straps that add NFC for mobile payments and others that add an optical heart-rate sensor.

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Powerstrap

The Pal strap is the first to include GPS, which can be used to measure pace, distance and speed while running or cycling. The company claims you will get up to 24 hours of battery life with an active signal, which is better than many running watches manage. This is possible because of a 250mAh battery backup built directly into the strap.

But what if you don't use GPS? Powerstrap has said the Pal could extend the battery life of the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel by up to seven days, which is quite impressive.

The company has also built a companion app for iPhone and Android smartphones. This is where you can view all of your workout information, including route, pace, speed, lap time and altitude. The app also includes a variety of workout performance charts and lets you share information on various social networks.

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Powerstrap

The strap does look a bit bulky, but it doesn't add that much weight. When paired with a Pebble Time, the strap and watch weigh 65 grams together (about 2.2 ounces). For comparison, the Garmin Forerunner 235 weighs 42 grams, while the Apple Watch Sport weighs about 70 grams.

The Pal can be preordered now on Kickstarter for $79 and offers international shipping. That price converts to about £55 or AU$110. It's available in red, white, black, yellow, green and blue. The Pal is slated to arrive in October.

As always, contributing to a crowdfunded project comes with risk. Before contributing to any campaign, read the crowdfunding site's policies (here's Kickstarter's) to find out your rights about refunds and other issues before and after a campaign ends.