A new app created by Toronto-based developer and entrepreneur Alex Kennberg uses the Pebble to take users through a standard 7-minute workout (made popular through media coverage at outlets including the New York Times Magazine), and does so using only the tech on your wrist. It’s a great example of where standalone smart watch app development could take that gadget category beyond the boundaries of just being a smartphone companion.
The Pebble watch app, which essentially just guides users through the 12 exercises described in the 7-minute workout, is functionally very similar, counting down the time required for each exercise and then inserting a 10-second rest between each. It uses the built-in vibration motor on the Pebble to alert you when changing from an exercise to a rest or vice versa, so that you can follow along without having to constantly look at your wrist.
To install the app you simply have to update your phone to the latest version, and then navigate to a specific website to download and install the app. Once installed, however, the 7-minute workout app works completely independently of the smartphone, meaning you’ll only need the watch whenever you want to actually run the app.
Kennberg’s app is remarkably simple, and yet it shows exactly what developers can do with even a lightweight SDK and a new wrist-based platform. There’s a lot of opportunity to create apps for Pebble and other smartwatches that stand on their own, and in fact this could be the difference between making similar wearable tech a lasting category, vs. just a passing fad. Google has recognized the need for a native hardware SDK for Google Glass, and there’s likewise a need for developers to step up and, with the limited capabilities available, make experiences contained by and suited to platforms like Pebble.
We should see plenty more in terms of innovative software for Pebble coming based on the expanded SDK and API options the startup released alongside its funding news earlier in May, but it’s nice to see what even a light touch can accomplish with devs paying attention to how this new device category might be used.