Proposed Pebble Time smart band could add standalone GPS, double battery life to 14 days

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in Apple Watch
While patents reveal Apple has explored the possibility of adding new functionality to the Apple Watch with connectable smart bands, a new Kickstarter campaign hopes to beat it to the punch with a GPS-connected, battery-equipped smart band for the Pebble Time smartwatch.




A crowdfunding campaign for the new Pal smart band proposes a fitness-focused smart watch strap for Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel created by Powerstrap. If it's properly funded, the project hopes to offer users a much-wanted feature: independent GPS.

In a similar manner, Apple has also been exploring how to add functionality to the Apple Watch via its own smart band concepts that would connect via a hidden diagnostic port, patents discovered by AppleInsider have revealed. Accordingly, some rumors have posited that Apple is working on smart bands that could add new capabilities to the Apple Watch without the need for an entirely new watch.

Some reports have claimed Apple has looked into adding additional sensors through new smart band accessories, potentially measuring a user's blood oxygen, respiratory rate, blood pressure and body temperature.




Anecdotally, one of the most commonly requested features for future Apple Watch and Pebble models has been independent GPS, allowing a device to track a user's location and fitness activity without the need for a paired iPhone. Pal plans to address this for Pebble Time owners by offering a built-in Qualcomm GPS unit that can be used to track route, distance, speed and elevation.

Pebble Founder Eric Migicovsky and his team have worked with Powerstrap for over a year to integrate the new smart strap, and Pal's kickstarter was able to raise more than $30,000 in just the first few hours on Tuesday. Backers can receive a unit, advertised to ship by October, for $79.

As with all crowdfunded projects, backers should be aware that such products are frequently delayed and ship without initially advertised capabilities. Sometimes, they don't ship at all.




In its pitch, Pal says the Pebble Time will display information on its color display while exercising, and data can be transferred to an app on an iPhone at a later time to sync with appropriate services, such as Pebble's own activity tracking capabilities. The proposed waterproof and sweatproof device also hopes to include a 250mAh battery to ensure users can utilize the power-draining GPS without affecting the Pebble's battery life.

Pal claims its accessory will be able to extend the battery life up to 14 days, doubling the weeklong uptime of the Pebble Time. Pal is also opening its software development platform for third-party development, which could lead to specialized tracking for any particular sport like running, golf or biking.

Pal however is not funded yet so the company is looking for support on Kickstarter with a target of $80,000. Powerstrap began development in April 2015 and expects shipment by October 2016.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    GPS can do so many things.  I don't know why Apple would not put GPS into all the mobile devices.  
  • Reply 2 of 13
    larryalarrya Posts: 582member
    Garmin just announced a new fitness band with GPS and HR (plus notifications), water resistant to 5ATM and 5 day battery (or 8 hours GPS).  How is Apple unable to do this?  The perfect device would provide music and GPS. Fingers crossed for Apple Watch 2.0. 

    http://bit.ly/1OvIBGC

    jackansi
  • Reply 3 of 13
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,081member
    larrya said:
    Garmin just announced a new fitness band with GPS and HR (plus notifications), water resistant to 5ATM and 5 day battery (or 8 hours GPS).  How is Apple unable to do this?  The perfect device would provide music and GPS. Fingers crossed for Apple Watch 2.0. 

    http://bit.ly/1OvIBGC

    You already answer your own question. How is Apple unable to do this: Apple would never produce such ridiculous device with "8 hours GPS".
    ration al
  • Reply 4 of 13
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    larrya said:
    Garmin just announced a new fitness band with GPS and HR (plus notifications), water resistant to 5ATM and 5 day battery (or 8 hours GPS).  How is Apple unable to do this?  The perfect device would provide music and GPS. Fingers crossed for Apple Watch 2.0. 

    http://bit.ly/1OvIBGC

    Because it looks like crap, is massively big, and is not a general use device.

    The perfect device already provides GPS, it's your phone that most people already carry in their daily lives.

    For general running, you don't really need GPS; it's fun to see you track the first time, but how on earth is in really improving your running when you go on your 30 minutes to 60 minutes training runs? Especially since it's not that precise while your running (it is more precise when standing still, but still the margin of error is very significative).

    8h GPS on a watch is an edge case for triathletes or long distance runners.
    edited May 2016 ration al
  • Reply 5 of 13
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,056member
    tzeshan said:
    GPS can do so many things.  I don't know why Apple would not put GPS into all the mobile devices.  
    Because it consumes a lot of power which is a weak spot of battery-capacity-deprived wearables.
    cnocbuiration al
  • Reply 6 of 13
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    tzeshan said:
    GPS can do so many things.  I don't know why Apple would not put GPS into all the mobile devices.  
    Because it consumes a lot of power which is a weak spot of battery-capacity-deprived wearables.
    Wrong!  The battery life of iPad wifi is the same as iPad cellular.  
  • Reply 7 of 13
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,081member
    tzeshan said:
    Because it consumes a lot of power which is a weak spot of battery-capacity-deprived wearables.
    Wrong!  The battery life of iPad wifi is the same as iPad cellular.  
    Because cellular gets the location mostly from cell towers it is connected to, not much from GPS. Towers provide much more accurate location info than satellites.

    This also explains why those GPS bracelets without a cell phone will fail. See Assisted GPS in:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

    edited May 2016 ration al
  • Reply 8 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,808member
    It looks like something that you're child would get in a Happy Meal box.

    $79.00 - what you'll pay for it in October.
    $3.50 - what you'll ask for it the next spring at your garage sale.
    The joy of shaking off the embarrassment of wearing a Cracker Jack toy when you finally succeed at unloading it for 75¢ - priceless.


    ration al
  • Reply 9 of 13
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,224member
    Clunky-looking chunk.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    tzeshan said:
    Wrong!  The battery life of iPad wifi is the same as iPad cellular.  
    Because cellular gets the location mostly from cell towers it is connected to, not much from GPS. Towers provide much more accurate location info than satellites.

    This also explains why those GPS bracelets without a cell phone will fail. See Assisted GPS in:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

    The devices don't just use the cell towers.  When there is no cellular signal, the device still can find location.  This is the solution to Apple Watch with GPS.  If your thinking is what Apple engineers think, they are not smart.  
  • Reply 11 of 13
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,081member
    tzeshan said:
    Because cellular gets the location mostly from cell towers it is connected to, not much from GPS. Towers provide much more accurate location info than satellites.

    This also explains why those GPS bracelets without a cell phone will fail. See Assisted GPS in:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

    The devices don't just use the cell towers.  When there is no cellular signal, the device still can find location.
    No it can't. Lot of complaints about this in Apple discussion forums.

    No cellular, no GPS.

    Try it yourself. Go to country, find a location with only a single cell tower in a large entourage. The weather app for example shows the location of that tower as your location even if you're in a different administrative district.

    In ordinary GPS use, lockdown with enough number of satellites takes about 15 minutes. The duration of an ordinary user's patience before killing a process is 22 seconds, as Apple's user interface studies have shown.
    edited May 2016 ration al
  • Reply 12 of 13
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    tzeshan said:
    The devices don't just use the cell towers.  When there is no cellular signal, the device still can find location.
    No it can't. Lot of complaints about this in Apple discussion forums.

    No cellular, no GPS.

    Try it yourself. Go to country, find a location with only a single cell tower in a large entourage. The weather app for example shows the location of that tower as your location even if you're in a different administrative district.

    In ordinary GPS use, lockdown with enough number of satellites takes about 15 minutes. The duration of an ordinary user's patience before killing a process is 22 seconds, as Apple's user interface studies have shown.
    Your description is incorrect.  Every time I do a walk out I use the Running app by Nike.  When I touch the BEGIN RUN, the upper right corner shows a flashing icon.  After ten seconds or so the icon with a red dot may turn into green.  It is an indication it finds the location through GPS.  
  • Reply 13 of 13
    tzeshan said:
    Your description is incorrect.  Every time I do a walk out I use the Running app by Nike.  When I touch the BEGIN RUN, the upper right corner shows a flashing icon.  After ten seconds or so the icon with a red dot may turn into green.  It is an indication it finds the location through GPS.  
    A real gps lock can take 15 minutes to get a lock
    assist gps uses other technologies to be used as temporary place holders until a real gps lock can be obtained

    the primary cheats to speed up gps locks are
    cellular towers
    scanning multiple channels at once
    nearby wifi networks
    the IP address of the network the device is connected to.
    Using 7 day constellation tables.

    anyones 10 second gps fix could simply because youre in range of a wifi network 

    I run a wifi scan
    i send the nearby network Mac addresses  to Apple and skyhook wireless
    skyhook and Apple send me back my location in 10 seconds 
    i use that as my location as a temporary placeholder until the GPS receiver  has had time to get a lock.

    why did the guy say it takes 15 minutes ?
    a gps satellite only sends out a ping every 90 seconds. 
    You need 3 or 4 satellite pings to calculate your lpcation
    plus it would help to know where those satellites are 
    modern GPS receivers scan 12 channels at once 
    tom tom was big on downloading constellation tables every 7 days to get GPS locks faster 
    it's a feature of tom tom home. 

    I've been debating if apple's " frequent locations " feature of iOS holds wifi network Mac addresses.
    some stories in the past has hinted that it does.
    if frequent locations is turned on and it is indeed storing Mac addresses of wireless routers 
    then thie iPhone is using this feature as your GPS location to save battery power and cellular data usage
    for all those apps that want your location.
    but I have no way to prove it.

    let me repeat that assist GPS does not replace GPS, it is not used as your primary permanent location, it's just a 
    temporary placeholder until the GPS receiver finds your location. 
    edited May 2016
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