Let me start this off by stating two things: 1. I fully support the idea of Kickstarter and crowdfunding and I have done an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign myself. 2. I love watches and new tech. I think a staple item for any man's wardrobe is a quality watch.
Now that we have that out of the way I want to say that I think the amount of money that Pebble is raising is flat out insane! It's not their fault, they put out a goal and people blow past it. Today they started with a goal of $500,000 over 31 days and as of 4:00 PM they have more than $5.6 million raised. This is on top of a $10 million Kickstarter they ran in 2012 which had started with a $100,000 goal.
Good for them, they are raising a ton of money and basically collecting pre-orders for their next version. Kickstarter has stated that they don't want to just be a platform for people to sell their products, but they don't enforce that very well and with a project raising so much money, why would they? (Kickstarter takes 5% of all successful campaigns).
My question is, why are so many people willing to fork over money for a piece of technology from a small start-up when that same tech is being developed by multiple large corporations with billions to throw at it? Apple, Samsung, LG and other major brands are all developing their own smartwatches, many of which are available now or scheduled to ship this year. In my opinion some of the major brands have much more attractive offerings, such as the LG G60, a round smartwatch (see picture below).
There are obviously some limitations to some of the major companies, such as only working on Apple or Android, but those issues aside it still raises an important question: Do you want to shell out nearly $200 on a piece of technology that will be outdated nearly as soon as you get it (the new Pebble is estimated to ship May 2015) or would you rather wait until you have more options, many of which will be more advanced than what you can currently pre-order?
I would chose to wait. With the speed that technology improves these days it seems crazy to fork over hundreds of dollars every time a new trend comes along. I'm not surprised that Pebble is meeting or even exceeding their goals, just given how popular smart-anythings are today, but I am surprised at just how many people consistently are ready to throw money at what really boils down to a novelty item.
Now, all that being said, I will likely buy a smartwatch one day, I'd just rather wait until the technology advances a little and I have more options. I've seen the first Pebble and honestly I wasn't impressed. The only real reason to have one is to say that you have it. It is bulky, black and white, and doesn't do anything that I wouldn't rather do on my phone. That might change with the new one which is in color and looks a little more stylish, not much more but a little. However, right now, I just don't see it.