Pebble performs “miracles” to bring Timeline to original smartwatch

Do you have the original Pebble or Pebble Steel? If you were considering upgrading to Pebble Time, the company has given you reason to reconsider. Version 3.8 of the firmware will bring the features of Pebble Time to the founding members of the Pebble family – a move that required “miracles” from the designers.

What’s more, if you’re on Android, you can get the update right now, albeit in beta form. Just head over to the Timeline for Pebble Classic Beta page on Google Plus, and request access. Once granted, you’ll have to remove the app and unpair the device from your phone, before the new firmware will reach the watch.

It’s only in English – which should be fine if you’re reading this – and it’s not available to iOS Pebble users, “due to restrictions within the iTunes App Store”.

While most firmware updates are fairly minor changes, or security updates behind the scenes, the 3.8 one is a major overhaul, bringing the Timeline feature to the earlier models. This is a chronological list of notifications, from appointments to sports scores. What’s more, the update removes the cap on the number of apps you can install at a time: you’re no longer limited to eight.

Obviously, the Pebble Time will still have advantages over the original Pebble – you can’t change the physical design or add colour to the screen with a firmware update – but it’s impressive dedication to hardware that’s getting on for three years old, and should help diehards eke out a little more life from the grandfather of smartwatches.

This, as you might imagine, has been a huge challenge, with one firmware engineer telling Reddit: “Porting the 3.8 firmware to the original hardware is, in my opinion, the toughest project that we have ever tackled.”

“I have been watching many of my co-workers pull miracles to cram additional functionality on a device that has been out of code space a long time. You may not believe this, but we really care about the original Pebble and we have a very big chunk of our firmware team working hard on it.”

If you prefer to wait for any kinks to be ironed out of the beta, Pebble reckons the official launch of the 3.8 firmware is going to be later this month, on both Android and iOS.

READ THIS NEXT: Pebble Time review – one smartwatch to outlast them all.

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