It took some time, but we're starting to see a few promising smartstraps that add new features to the Pebble Time smartwatch. There's one with a built-in heart rate monitor and wireless charging, and now another company is working on a strap that turns the Time into a mobile wallet. It's called the Pagaré and is made by Fit Pay, a financial tech startup that just completed a $3.1 million seed funding round. The Pagaré adds NFC technology to the Pebble Time, which in turn gives it the same contactless payment features that you get with the Apple Watch and, eventually, Samsung's Gear S2.
The strap itself is "nearly indistinguishable from standard Pebble straps," the company claims, and comes in all the same finishes and styles. But on one end, it's got a built-in USB connector, which will charge up both the Pagaré and the Pebble Time itself. Also of note: the NFC chip is on the bottom of the strap, so it'll probably require less wrist twisting than the Apple Watch.
More and more merchants are beginning to support NFC payments, and Fit Pay estimates there are already 9 million locations where the Pagaré can be used. Your credit and/or debit card data is protected by multiple layers of security — namely tokenization. "We leverage the same card network service as Apple Pay to replace your card number with a surrogate value called a token. This means we never need to store your credit card." And there's another security precaution that should prevent unauthorized purchases in the event your Time goes missing; whenever you take the watch off, you'll need to enter a PIN before the ability to make payments with Pagaré is restored. To get going, you install the Pagaré app on your smartphone (and on the Pebble), scan your cards in, and once everything's set up, you can leave the phone at home and still make payments on the go.
But before any of that, Fit Pay's idea needs to become an actual product — something that's never a guarantee with Kickstarter. Pebble is actually putting a fair bit of support behind the Pagaré, with CEO Eric Migicovsky appearing in the product's promotional video. "This game-changing smartstrap has the opportunity to bring a whole new world of possibilities to the Pebble Time series. The design and prototyping process is already complete, and Fit Pay is aiming for a $120,000 goal to begin manufacturing. Right now, a $49 early-bird special gets you the Pagaré smartstrap, and you can also chip in either $199 or $249 to receive a Pebble Time as well. (The higher price lets you choose between the Pebble Time Steel or Pebble Time Round.) Currently shipping projections for the Pagaré have it arriving to backers by July.