Taking your chances on a cool Kickstarter gadget can be a risky proposition, with some devices delayed by many months, and some never even reaching the market. Similarly, the much celebrated Pebble smartwatch, which raised about $10.2 million from more than 68,000 backers, had a bit of rough start.
Early on, demand for the device was so high that the company was forced to announce a couple of major delays last year, prompting some to doubt the seriousness of the venture. Well, this week those doubts should finally come to an end as Best Buy is now making the Pebble available for purchase on its online store and at its retail locations for $149.99. The move essentially takes all the risk out of the proposition of buying what may be your very first smartwatch.
This pairing with one of the largest electronics retailers in the U.S. is likely to accelerate Pebble's growth by several orders of magnitude, and just in time. With every passing week new information emerges that points to the likelihood that Apple will offer its own smartwatch sometime in the next six months. In addition to what would possibly be a game changing device from Apple, other competitors like Google, Samsung and Sony have announced plans to get in on the smartwatch trend as well.
And while it may seem odd that major device makers are taking longer to get such a device to market, an early look at the reviews of the Pebble on Best Buy's site may hold some clues. A number of users who bought the device at Best Buy are already reporting faulty screens and other glitches that could tarnish the device's reputation if not addressed quickly.
Whether Pebble's just in time arrival at Best Buy is enough to secure its future is up to the market to decide, but as of this week, smartwatches are no longer experiments, they just went mainstream.