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Pebble may be reborn as a small Android phone
- Eric Migicovsky, the founder of Pebble, wants to build a small Android phone that can compete with the iPhone Mini.
- The initiative is a crowd-funded project like the Pebble Watch.
- The team wants the phone to be “a nice soft slab that’s very high quality, very nicely put together, very solid feeling.”
Remember the little smartwatch that could, known as the Pebble? It looks like the Pebble could be making a comeback. Not as a smartwatch, but as a small Android phone. New details have come out about the device and where it is in the development process.
Last year, the founder of Pebble, Eric Migicovsky, announced that he wanted to create a small Android phone that could compete with iPhone Mini. Android Authority reported on the wishlist Migicovsky posted on his website which detailed what his dream compact phone would include. In a recent interview with The Verge, Migicovsky shared some insight on the project.
According to the interview, the announcement has evolved into a community-based project with a team — not yet a company — working to design and produce the handset. That team consists of a group of professionals with varying backgrounds that range across the industry. It appears that the crew is currently trying to source a display, choose a chip, and pick a body design.
At the moment, Alex De Stasio — former GoPro industrial designer — says he is trying to figure out the camera bump. “A lot of my sketching focuses on the camera bump,” De Stascio told The Verge. “This has a huge impact on the visual icon of the phone, so I wanted to spend some extra time on it to make sure it’s very uniquely recognizable and very iconic.”
In regards to the cameras, the group is trying to aim for a phone that can “take good photos,” according to the founding marketer at Pebble, Benjamin Bryant. As a result, they won’t be using 100MP shooters, but will opt for reliable 50MP lenses. For the second half of the picture equation, Bryant says they have “a couple leads” on camera software that will allow them to compete, but they could end up developing their own software.
For the chip, it looks like they want something capable, but not necessarily top-tier. According to Bryant, the team is considering last year’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 or a yet-to-be-released mid-tier chip.
Finally, for the display, it appears the group is still trying to nail down the right screen. Bryant claims that it’s been difficult to find a display under six inches. With one manufacturer discontinuing its sub-six-inch screens and another being too similar to the iPhone Mini’s 5.4-inch screen.
In addition to this new information, the team also revealed a few other details about the device. The body could feature a metal frame covered in glass composite, ceramic-coated aluminum, forged carbon, bio-resin, or ceramic composites. For the cost, it could get an $850 price tag due to production size and other factors. However, Bryant says the price depends on manufacturer negotiations and how many people sign up for a phone. Although the phone only has a codename — Marvin — the team has a few ideas including Pico, Pip, Atlas, Howdy, and Pebble.
If you’d like to support the project, the team is still accepting signups on its website. You just have to fill out a short survey and hit submit.