Apps for the Pebble smartwatch are about to get a whole lot smarter. Today the company is releasing a new developer toolkit that will allow Pebble apps to fully communicate with a paired iOS or Android app. Until now, existing apps have been limited to the watch's basic functions, but this won't be the case going forward. If a developer builds a phone app and a complementary watch app, the watch can be used to control the phone, display detailed information pushed from the phone, and even launch a specific watch app when a notification comes through. Unfortunately, no major apps are launching today with support for the new features, so Pebble owners will still have to wait for developers to build something that takes advantage of them.
Fitness support made easy
Pebble is also releasing a special, streamlined version of the toolkit for fitness apps, which the company tells us should make it really simple for developers to enable watch support. The fitness toolkit can be used to display a runner's pace, mileage, and time on the watch — it's exactly what the RunKeeper app has been using thanks to an early look at the feature, and the hope is that every user's favorite running app will eventually talk to the Pebble.
But aside from RunKeeper, apps haven't been capable of this type of powerful interaction with the smartwatch. Pebble only launched the first, basic version of its developer toolkit in April, though it's seen 5,000 apps developed and 300,000 apps installed since then. However, simple watch face alterations are included in the numbers, and they likely make up the vast majority of what's available. Pebble's app ecosystem hasn't gotten exciting just yet, but this new developer toolkit could be what changes that.