Kickstarter star Pebble names RunKeeper as its first watch app

May 2, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka



Smart watch in the making Pebble has shattered all kinds of records on Kickstarter, raising nearly $8 million despite originally seeking only $100,000. The most-funded project in Kickstarter history is using that extra money to produce a higher-quality watch, take on more staff, and seek partners to have apps ready when Pebble launches this fall.

Pebble has announced that RunKeeper will be the first app to support its e-paper display watch that links with smartphones through Bluetooth. RunKeeper is a fitness app and platform that tracks a user’s cardio activity – running, walking, cycling, etc. – and provides information about each workout. It measures distance and time, pace, heart rate, calories burned, and stores that data so users can monitor it through the Android app or online, where they can share their results with others.

RunKeeper will develop a “watchapp” for Pebble that will enable users to control the app directly from their watch. In addition to relaying stats from RunKeeper on Pebble’s outdoor-friendly e-paper display, the watchapp will be able to stop and start activities or pause and skip music tracks.

“Making the RunKeeper app accessible from Pebble is another step towards making fitness tracking simple for our users. People don’t just want to track their fitness activities, they want to do so in the most convenient way possible, and you can’t beat the form factor of a smart watch.”

- Jason Jacobs, CEO of RunKeeper.

The partnership makes perfect sense. Of all the use cases one could imagine for a smartphone-linked watch capable of running apps, fitness monitors and controls rank near the top of the list. The Pebble product demo suggests such a function, and the RunKeeper announcement confirms at least one service will be available. Fans of other apps like CardioTrainer or Endomondo can cross the finger and hope those companies will build similar apps. Pebble will release an SDK in August so developers can prepare for a watchapp directory set to launch later this year.