Smartwatch startup Pebble revealed today for the first time that it has received 190,000 pre-orders for its wearable computing accessory through its own web store following the tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign it ran last year. That means it amassed around 275,000 pre-orders total for the smartwatch, which is impressive early traction for a device that didn’t have a proven market in place to sell into.
Pebble co-founder Eric Migicovsky told me the company wanted to reveal the total order volume now as a follow-up to its Best Buy availability announcement, in order to provide some context around the challenges the startup has faced in terms of shipping product to backers. Response at Best buy has also been very good, Migicovsky says, though the team isn’t yet ready to talk about specific numbers. The Pebble is sold out at many of Best Buy’s retail locations already.
For the first six to ten months following the close of the Kickstarter campaign, the focus for Pebble was exclusively on shipping; it wasn’t a priority, per Migicovsky, but “the” priority. Now, the startup is getting to a point where it can change its focus to start working towards accomplishing its longer term goals as a company. Part of that includes meeting demand and making sure everyone who pre-ordered receives their device, which should happen over the next year, Migicovsky says. But developers are the other big priority to whom Pebble is now turning its attention.
“Our focus as a company is now shifting to supporting third-party developers,” Migicovsky says. The company has seen over 1 million watch apps downloaded to Pebble devices, as measured by installs made through its iOS and Android apps. There’s already an active community around the Pebble SDK, and Migicovsky says that fostering that will be where the startup shifts spending and development efforts.
“This means our developer tools will get better, we’ll be focusing on how developers can get their tools out to users,” he said. “It’s in our best interest, as well as in the interest of developers to share this these stories.”
So now that Pebble has made good on getting to market, it will focus on these two goals to help build the smartwatch into a lasting, robust platform. Of course, those 275,000 pre-orders, while impressive on their own, might not look so amazing should Apple release an iWatch as it appears to be preparing to do. But that’s still an unknown quantity, and Pebble doing their best to solidify their current market positioning is the best thing the startup can do right now.
Migicovsky will also be doing an AMA on Reddit starting at 12 PM PDT, so that should be an opportunity for him to expound further on what the future holds for his startup.