Pebble launches new device for runners, raises almost $7M in one day on Kickstarter

By Brian Dolan
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Smartwatch maker Pebble, one of the first companies to popularize the modern smartwatch concept, has launched a new device, called Pebble Core, that specifically targets runners. Unlike Pebble's other devices, Core is not a wristworn device, but a "a tiny little Android phone without a screen" that runners can clip-on or stick in their pocket, Pebble CEO and co-founder Eric Migicovsky told SlashGear as part of an in-depth feature about the new device.

Pebble Core enables runners to track their runs without having to bring their smartphone along as well as their smartwatch. The small Core device would be enough.

The accelerometer-equipped device is set up for 3G cellular-connectivity, boasts anywhere from nine hours to five days of battery life, and feeds the fitness data it tracks to various popular apps, including Under Armour Record, Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyRun, and Google Fit. It also has WiFi and Bluetooth-connectivity.

Core is currently available via Kickstarter for $69 but the company expects it to retail for $99. The catch is the device does not include the cellular SIM card that's key to the device's value proposition. So users would also have to pay a monthly fee for that cellular service.

Pebble's Kickstarter campaign, which includes various smartwatch models in addition to the Core device, launched just yesterday but, as of this writing, it's close to passing the $7 million mark.

The new device launch comes just a few months after Pebble laid off 40 employees, or 25 percent of its workforce, citing a decreasing availability of venture funding. At the time the company also revealed a renewed focus on the health and fitness aspects of Pebble's wearables, which are what its users are most interested in, according to the company. 

Pebble launched a health app for its devices in December. Fitness has long been a part of Pebble's offering since its 2012 Kickstarter launch, which was followed almost immediately by an integration with Runkeeper. (Runkeeper was recently acquired by Japanese shoe company ASICS). Pebble has since integrated with Misfit and Jawbone as well.