Allerta has rolled out its Pebble project on Kickstarter, a smartwatch that might strike one of the best balances between functionality and power drain to date — it uses a 144 x 168 low-power Sharp Memory LCD display, rather than the OLED and traditional LCD screens seen on other smartwatches in recent memory (including Sony's new SmartWatch). It connects to your iOS or Android device over Bluetooth 2.1, has a vibrating motor for alerts, and can load apps through a dedicated Pebble app store. Thanks to a three-axis accelerometer, the Pebble should be able to function in place of a device like Jawbone's Up or Nike's FuelBand. Several colors are planned, and from Allerta's pictures and renders of prototypes on its Kickstarter page, this is shaping up to be one of the more attractive (and less geeky) smartwatches to date. The $99 "early bird" special is sold out, but interested parties can sign up for Pebble packages ranging from $115 to $1,250 to help get the device funded. Deliveries are expected in September, though some packages promise prototype delivery in August.
Kickstarter projects come and go, but this one stands a very real chance of making it to production: along with Fossil spinoff MetaWatch, Allerta has been actively selling legitimate smartwatches for longer than just about anyone. That's not saying much — the company first started selling its original inPulse in 2010 — but this is a young industry that's still trying to find a way to get average consumers interested in wearing watches again. (The success of the iPod nano wristband market is a promising sign.)