If you’vre been reading the posts ive made over the last year or so you’ll see I am quite sold on the idea of using a smartphone (iPhone in my case) for logging your workout, although maybe not quite as accurate as a standard NK Speedcoach it has the advantages of being a lot cheaper (assuming you have the smartphone already), having a lot of additional functionality over a speedcoach (GPS for one) and also being a true “convergence” device, so you can use it to track your rowing, analyse post outing, take photos ect.
However smartphones as a whole all do suffer from one major issue, the screen. Modern LCD and even AMOLED screens are just not as good in direct sunlight as the display on a speedcoach meaning you have to squint at the screen while rowing which is less than ideal, however the Pebble smartwatch may be able to help resolve this issue.
If you have not heard of the Pebble before, it is a smartwatch that has taken the internet by storm, the most succesful device ever put on the kickstarter site to try and raise funds, it managed to secrure over $10 million dollars and is almost a victim of its own success as the developers are having to expand their plans to make sure there are enough devices to meet demand
The reason this watch is interesting in the context of use in rowing is due to two main feature, its e-ink screen and its ability for developers to link smartphone apps to the watch to display data (the fact the watch is waterproof and also looks pretty snazzy helps as well 🙂 ).
The e-paper screen is perfect for the issue of sunlight as, as any kindle owner will tell you, e-ink/e-paper is perfectly legibale in direct sunlight, meaning no matter what the weather you will be able to see the screen on the watch
Customisable with apps
This is the interesting point, the developers of the Pebble have specifically designed the pebble so that developers can write apps or add support for the pebble into their own apps, the apps can then share information which is displayed on the pebble screen. In the context of rowing this means app developers for rowing apps could add support for the pebble, and have it so that the smartphone would be secured in the boat and log all the relevant information (speed, rate) and the pebble watch could be attached infront of the rower and display the information. This would make it massively easier to read in the sunlight.
Unfortunalty the kickstarter page has closed for funding, but the product should hopefully come to market by the end of the year, the developer of the NK Speedcoach app for iOS has expressed interest about supporing this so hopefully sometime soon we will have at least one option for making our smartphone speedcoaches easier to read in the sunlight!