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FCC approves smartwatch

The Federal Communications Commission has approved the Pebble wristwatch, one of the most prominent products financed on Kickstarter. The Pebble watch uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones running Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating system, enabling users to download watch faces and apps and to feel vibrations on their wrist when they receive a call or text message.

As a Kickstarter company, Pebble already has orders for its product. Rather than raising venture capital, the startup financed the watch’s development with payments from individuals who have enough confidence in the concept to place an order before the product is ready to ship.

The initial ship date for the Pebble watch was September, but the company said it received so many orders for the Pebble that it could not ramp up production fast enough to fill them all on schedule. The smartwatch was available for pre-order at $115, and the company received more than $10 million, meaning that it needs to produce more than 85,000 watches.

FCC approval is a positive step for Pebble, but production is of course the biggest challenge. The watches are being made in Dongguan, China. In a blog post dated Dec. 21, the company said its product verification build, the last step before mass production, would start within a week.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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