Pebble Seeds Engineering Schools With 4K Free Smartwatches In A Bid To Drive Developer Interest

Pebble today revealed a new project aimed at education in which it will donate over 4,000 smartwatches to higher ed schools including Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, Virginia Tech and many more. The donation is worth over $600,000, according to Pebble’s own estimates, but it’s clearly designed to make sure Pebble and the Pebble SDK are in the hands of the next generation of top-tier developers before they ever even hit the job market.

Now that Pebble has released its official app creation SDK, and unlocked many of the dormant features of the platform, it needs developers to get on board and start pumping out creations that really show off the potential of wrist-worn computing to push the Pebble’s appeal beyond the early adopter and gadget loving crowd who’ve already purchased one, and into the mainstream. Software sells hardware, and developers build software. In school, they’re often more willing and able to experiment with platforms that don’t necessarily have a proven ability to pay the bills, hence why it’s a good idea to give these things away to engineering students as development hardware.

Pebble only recently hit the tipping point in terms of having stock on hand in stores and online, but current inventory levels seems strong, and there’s also a sale on right now offering a $10 discount on new units. As 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub noted on Twitter, this sale and education donation could be taken as evidence that the company is looking to offload stock ahead of some kind of refresh.

Pebble is also offering a special discount through its institutional partners to anyone who wants to order a personal device through them, it notes in its announcement today, which could also be taken as an indication that it’s offloading on-hand stock. This is a key time to watch the wearable computing manufacturer, since at the very least it’s clear it’s through the frenzy and supply catch-up process that it faced while Kickstarting the project and quenching initial demand.