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The Pebble Core is a fresh take on wearables for runners and hackers

By Liu Hongzuo - on 25 May 2016, 4:28pm

The Pebble Core is a fresh take on wearables for runners and hackers

The Pebble Core is the square-shaped device connected to a pair of earphones.

In the same breath as the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2’s launch, Pebble announced their first non-smartwatch wearable. Called the Pebble Core, it’s a stand-alone GPS device built for runners, and it can be adapted for other purposes by hacking enthusiasts.

At its very core (not sorry), the Pebble Core is an Android 5.0 OS computer, as stated on their Kickstarter page. As seen from the official images, the device is approximately the size of an electronic key fob. It can be attached to your running clothes with a clip. Pebble claimed that the Core’s form factor is “a better experience” for running, as opposed to carrying a smartphone with a large display.

Key features and simplified specifications for the Pebble Core tracker.

The tracker packs a handful of main features that are important to high-tech joggers who’d love to leave their cumbersome phones at home. It is capable of streaming Spotify by default, and it comes with 4GB on-board storage for your offline songs. Since it streams online music, the Core supports 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity – it requires a micro-SIM card for mobile data. As a fitness tracker, it not only tracks pace and running distance, but its built-in GPS helps runners track their location and route. It provides real-time audio feedback during and after running sessions, and it syncs running data over Wi-Fi to your phone’s third-party apps, such as Runkeeper, and Strava.

Its other fringe features are also useful too. The Pebble Core offers wired and wireless Bluetooth connectivity to headphones. It also offers Voice Notes for runners who need to jot information down in a jiffy. Emergency SOS lets you blast an emergency SMS with your location using your mobile and cellular data. Finally, it plays nice with a connected Pebble watch by displaying the Core’s tracked data on the smartwatch’s display. If you want the optional wireless charging pad for the Core, it’s another US$20 to your Kickstarter pledge value.

The Pebble Core is open to third-party developers, making it possible to re-purpose the device's functionalities for other uses.

Like its smartwatches, Pebble opened up their Pebble Core to the developer community, although there’s no further news on the launch of the Core’s software development kit (SDK). According to the wearables company, the Core can be programmed to hail an Uber in one button press, or it can be used to track pets, or even open a garage door. The Core itself has two programmable buttons, and its hardware features like built-in GPS, Bluetooth, and network receiver for 3G and Wi-Fi can be altered to the developer’s liking. Besides its operating system, Pebble has yet to release further specification details about the device.

The Pebble Core shares the same Kickstarter page as the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2. Each unit has a retail price of US$99, but the crowd-funding page lets you pick one up for as low as US$69. It is slated to start shipping by January 2017, should things run along smoothly.

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