The tiny Core pocket computer from Pebble Technology will have a very big friend on its side once it reaches the marketplace: Amazon. Pebble announced this week that Pebble Core will be the first standalone wearable device to integrate Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant technology.
Alexa is currently used in only a handful of Amazon’s own products, including the Amazon Echo voice-enabled wireless speaker. So far, developers have released more than 1,000 skills for Alexa, according to Amazon. The digital personal assistant is also used in Amazon’s Echo Dot, FireTV and Tap devices.
The Core (pictured above) is still under development. Pebble Technology recently launched a new Kickstarter campaign for the cellular-connected wearable computer. The company has also turned to crowdfunding to spur development of a pair of smart watches, the Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2.
“We’re longtime fans of the powerful voice services Alexa delivers, and it only gets smarter and more useful over time,” said Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, in a statement. “It’s an approach we embrace with our own products.”
As of this afternoon, the combined Kickstarter initiative for the Core and the two smart watches has raised just over $10 million from about 53,000 backers. A pledge of $69 to Pebble’s Kickstarter fund will earn a Core, which will retail for $99 when it begins shipping early next year.
The Pebble 2 starts at $99 while the stainless steel Time 2 starts at $169. The Pebble smart watch, now known as the Pebble Classic, was introduced by Pebble in 2014. It was also funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised slightly over $10 million.
Users can clip the Pebble Core to their clothes. It’s powered by Google’s Android operating system and is capable of tracking distance, location and pace via GPS technology. It also lets users stream music through Spotify, send emergency messages to friends or family and record voice notes. The device doesn’t need to be paired with a smartphone to enable those capabilities.
The Core can also let users get news headlines from different media outlets, shop for products on Amazon, control smart home devices, stream music, order food to be delivered, provide a health summary and more. The Pebble Core does not come with a microphone, however, so a user will have to use a separate headphone set with a built-in mic to be able to access Alexa’s functions.
The integration of Alexa into the Pebble Core works via the wearable device’s 3G SIM slot, providing the Pebble Core with the Internet connection necessary to allow Alex to work without a paired smartphone.
Pebble is also developing what it calls a hackable version of Core. As an unlocked Android 5.0 computer, the Core for Hackers can be transformed by a user into a button with numerous uses, including unlocking a car, opening a garage door, recording voice notes and turning lights off and on. It comes with GPS tracking, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G connectivity and a voice interface.