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Is there a Pebble app coming to Windows Phone? Maybe.

Recently, an internal listing for what looks to be a Pebble synchronization app for Windows Phone was found in the Store. Pebble is one of the most prevalent and well-known smartwatches on the market, so official support for it on Windows Phone would be a big win for the platform.

Unfortunately, the evidence is mixed, at best. We'll try to explain what is going on.

Is it legit?

First off, evidence does suggest the app is capable of doing what it was designed to do. We spoke with Jeremy Sinclair, who is also known as 'Snickler' on XDA where he is a forum moderator. He looked at the APPX bundle and found the following support:

ID_CAP_SMS and ID_CAP_SMS_COMPANION with Bluetooth capabilities

Those APIs lets an app intercept SMS text messages, something that a Pebble app would need to do.

Unfortunately, those tools are not open to public developers, suggesting that whoever made this app had access to the RPAL SDK. Those tools are limited to contracted parties, OEMs and of course Microsoft, as they give deeper access to the OS as compared to what is found in the public SDK.

Because of this finding, we believe the app is a tool for syncing with a Pebble smartwatch. However…

What is this app?

An immediate conclusion some would reach is that this is a beta Pebble app of some sorts.  However, we do not believe that this is the case.

What we are likely looking at is a proof-of-concept tool, possibly used in talks between Pebble and Microsoft about making an official app.

Often when companies approach Microsoft (or vice versa) about making an app, both parties tend to test the waters to see if what the client wants is technically feasible. This all happens before contracts are signed and official app development begins. For most apps, this is not a big deal. However, when apps need to do things like background syncing, accessing contacts, pulling up notifications, and more, demonstration applications are usually deployed to prove the app's capability.

Windows Phone 8.1.1 is certainly better at Bluetooth syncing, which is why we have seen an uptick in connected services for the platform e.g. Fitbit, Shine, SmartThings, Insteon, Wellograph. Still, in speaking with developers, we also know that these tools are still behind iOS and Android, often handcuffing what developers can do with the tools they are given. This reason is why we do not see some apps yet on Windows Phone, or why services like Fitbit do not have full notification support.

In this sense, it is not clear if Microsoft and Pebble went to the next stage in the development: making an actual app.

Assuming they did, we would still need to know the details about such deal, including was delivery of the app tied to Windows Phone 8.1.1 or not. Microsoft is at some crossroads with app development, as the Windows Phone 8.1.1 tools are being replaced by ones for Windows 10, enabling universal apps and greater access to APIs. It is quite reasonable to suspect that Pebble may be holding off on releasing anything until Windows 10 is more of a reality in the marketplace for PCs and phones.

Simply put we just do not know. Pebble may have seen this app and decided that it was not up to their standards, passing on the project. Then again, the app was last updated just a few days ago suggesting there is still life in the project.

The takeaway

We think this Store finding is indicative that Microsoft and Pebble at some point were exploring an app for Windows Phone. Sources in the past have told us that this was indeed the case. What we do not yet know is if this demo app went beyond a proof-of-concept to a more advanced stage of development.

Even if the Pebble app was contracted out for Windows Phone, it is not clear if the terms of the deal specified an 8.1 release. If not, Pebble may very well wait for Windows 10 to come along later this year.

Details about Windows 10 app development will be revealed later this spring at Build 2015. We have heard that Microsoft is finally opening up APIs to all developers, something that has not been the case in the past. Assuming this genuine, Pebble would be able to make an app without compromise, something that cannot be said of Windows Phone 8.1 app development. In other words, there is an incentive for them to wait for Windows 10 then to release a half-baked product today.

For now, we are cautiously optimistic about Pebble and Windows Phone, but we do not see this Store listing as evidence for anything fateful.  Instead, Pebble users are advised to continue using third-party apps, which are much more limited.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

65 Comments
  • Well it would be nice
  • Oh man Daniel, you keep bringing up build pol, its making me so excited!! Almost as excited as I am about Happy Wars and world of tanks coming to XB1 as free cross platform games :D
  • Odd thing that title is, I expect wc to tell me, not ask me. Especially when the app didn't show the "maybe" part.
  • ....
  • Tis true
  • Exactly.
  • Hey Dan.. Should us wp users have anything to look forward to with MWC next week.. Haven't seen much buzz for that on the site
  • Pebble ftw!
  • I really hope that pebble is working on a app for windows 10. I would like to buy a pebble (time) but since it has not a proper windows phone compatibly...
  • By the time there's pebble support the MSB2 will be out............ Just saying.
  • What is the MSB2? I don't understand :$
  • Microsoft Band 2
  • Yep.
  • EDIT: what he said.
  • I thought there was already support...
  • So frustrating
  • I've already moved on to the Microsoft Band and gave my Pebble to a friend with an Android device, got sick of waiting.
  • Is the band worth it?
  • I love mine. Then again the main reason I originally got the Pebble was for notifications on my wrist, which the band does perfectly. That is pretty much all I was looking for.
  • Yup. Definitely worth it. I've had mine for a week and a half. I, almost never take it off now.
  • I would buy a MS band if they ever have one in stock! I checked in amazon and eBay and people are just making out a profit ($350 and up) of the batch they bought and left others without one.
  • Pebble is doomed anyways. They may be able to carve out a niche with the battery life and price (if they can get it to $100), but once the Apple Watch is out they will likely lose most of the iPhone business. I would assume they are already losing the Android market to Android Wear. They will get steam rolled going forward, especially with how ugly their newest watch is.
  • Sort of my thoughts too. Pebble is like Palm to smartphones. Set the stage, got it to the masses, but they will be steamrolled by Apple, Google/Samsung/LG, Microsoft, etc.
  • I loved my palm...
  • Yeah, their best chance was for the dedicated high end market. I think Apple will nab that though. Although, since the Apple Watch won't have its true price hidden (I assume, unless there will be contract-promotions) like the iPhone does, I think it'll be a tough sell.
  • Apple people are not afraid to pay any price, just look at their computers. Windows Phone may be Pebble's only chance at a market, if it is big enough. Even at less than 3% of the market, Windows Phone may be their only choice.
  • I think Microsoft is getting it's own Windows phone market. Every here already switching to Microsoft Band
  • "Apple people are not afraid to pay any price, just look at their computers." There are very few Apple computer users, compared to iPhone and PC users. Among high-end laptops, Apple has a huge market share. I think Apple Watch will end up in a similar spot, premium and common within its segment, but still a niche product overall. Then again, I thought the same about the iPad, so...
  • Well tv was quite a stinker still is
  • It will be a sellout success, nothing will change that. Then there will be the apple watch 2, 2s etc and apple will go on to crush all other smartwatches.
  • *Crush all other smart watches available on iPhone. Android Wear will get a huge surge from the Apple Watch. Android users will not be able to use the Apple Watch. There are better Android Wear designs available at much better prices and the Apple Watch will get people looking at them.
  • Yep.
    I'm already less than impressed with Pebble and I'm very happy with my band. Throw in the Apple Watch and other full featured wearables and this thing is doomed.
  • Their current kickstarter success seems to indicate otherwise.   It's still the only platform that works reliably with iOS AND Android and still gets 5-7 days of battery life on a charge with the face always on (which is kind of important for a watch). I have a G Watch. The "two" days of battery life doesn't cut it for me and the Apple watch will be no different. In my opinion, Pebble is the only company thats' getting it right: Focusing on the watch first, rather than trying to put a smartphone on our wrists, complete with smartphone specs and smartphone battery life. Since the Microsoft Band is only good for 48 hours, it's no good to me either. 
  • I have a Moto 360 and battery life isn't an issue for me. It will last nearly 2 days if needed and charges fast. Setting it on the charger each night is natural and the the Pebble isn't even in the same league style or feature wise. Having the face always on is annoying. Do you really want somthing glowing on your wrist all day? As long as it is good at knowing when to come on, that is what is important. I have tried always on mode and it gets old really fast. Kickstarter is no indication of future success.
  • If I can't glance at the watch any time I want and see the time, it's not useful as a watch. I ride a motorcycle. I can't shake my wrist to see the time when I'm riding. Ambient display mode on the 360 isn't even full Ambient. It STILL turns off the face at times. I'm super thrilled that you're okay with two days of battery life and having to jerk your arm around to see the time, but I had the Moto 360 and sent it back for those exact reasons. Yes, I do want something glowing on my wrist all day. If you're somewhere where that's a problem, that's what theater mode is for. "Kickstarter is no indication of success". Yes, because Pebble clearly failed the first time and the fact that they at 9 MILLION with a 500k goal with 30 days left to go means nothing...except, of course, that lots of people are preordering the watch from them.
  • Yeah, I wish it had a slider to adjust how easily the face came on when you moved your wrist. Sometimes it takes a second arm motion to initiate it, but it works fine for the most part. It isn't as usefull as I was hoping when on a bike. You have to stop to do anything other than see the time or the current notification. I have definetly used my nose at times to swipe the screen! I plan on mounting it on the handlebar in the future. When the GWatch gets really cheap it will be perfect for that. I don't think kickstarter is a good indication of future success. Competition is going to be really tough for Pebble. They just aren't going to have the features or developer support to be viable long term. Battery life on other platforms will get better fast. They should use Android Wear on at least one watch.
  • Unfortunately I have become so jaded that the first thing I think when I see a well-known app or brand coming to WP is "yeah, they'll release it with the most basic functions, send out a couple of bug fixes quickly, and never update it again." Let's hope it comes. But I'd be shocked if it'll be more than a way for Microsoft to have a checkbox on a spec sheet when trying to sell phones.
  • That's what we need.
  • Too late for me, I would have been all over getting a pebble two or one year ago if they had an app back then. But with stuff like the Band out, Pebble isnt appealing to me at least.
  • It's reasonable that if they have plans to launch an app to Windows phones they'd wait until there were more open SDKs that could deliver an ideal experience from their watches and the app itself. They are playing it safe.
  • "Still, in speaking with developers, we also know that these tools are still behind iOS and Android, often handcuffing what developers can do with the tools they are given. This reason is why we do not see some apps yet on Windows Phone, or why services like Fitbit do not have full notification support." After 4 years on the market, why is this still the case?
  • Yeah, that's upsetting and sad. Makes me think of how Windows Phone 7 couldn't even run the GPS and data connection in the background or lockscreen. There's nothing that egregiously idiotic anymore, but clearly there are still obstacles to having exciting apps on WP.
  • Well.... TECHNICALLY, it's only been a couple years as all of the BT APIs were thrown out the window with Windows phone 8, when they switched to NT.
    You're right though, it's still pretty sad.
  • And aren't they about to do it AGAIN with Windows 10?
  • so what would be the best smartwatch/fitness tracker for Windows Phone?   There is no way to get a Band in Europe, so thats not an option
  • Says "You do not have permission to download this app" now...anyone else seeing this?
  • I mean did you read and understand the article
  • I contacted Pebble a couple of days ago regarding their new Pebble Time if any windows phone support. this was the email I received. "At this time, Pebble smartwatch is only set up to support iOS and Android. While it is possible that we might support other smartphone OSs in the future, we cannot guarantee it. No plans or announcements have been made when that might happen. However, we do have 3rd party developers who are actively working on other platforms." Pebble seems to have the strongest alert vibrations in my experience.
  • Ok
  • I might actually have a use for my pebble other than a bulky watch. Yay.
  • I sold mine after owning it for like 2 months and finding out the hardware that it is worthless for WP...at least I made a $10 profit on it :)
  • I didnt support the pebble yet
  • Waiting for the Band 2. The new Pebble UI gives me the shivers, looks like a Leapfrog product.
  • I think they'll wait till Windows 10 and make it a universal app this way if Windows 10 phones doesn't sell well they'll at least have it on tablets and PC's.
  • would it be a good idea for MS to purchase pebble and merge the band and pebble? or keep the hardware designs of both and merge the software? MS will add windows and continue to support android and ios, which fits their business model.
  • Time to get my pebble from the drawer and juice it up...
  • I hope so! I was wondering if it's worth it to buy one but hey, no app!
  • If you have been lucky enough as a company user to use things like company hub controls you may find your subscription can be renewed to have access to internal tools and api's
  • Somehow someone gave the app a rating. Somebody noticed?
  • Misfit and their Shine/Flash products should not be mentioned in the same sentence with other Windows Phone supported trackers (Band and Fitbit). Misfit has a horribly buggy (read broken) app for 'supported' Windows platforms.
  • PLEASE. SMART WATCHHHHH
  • One would think if they are serious about taking on the big rivals, they would seek support from an addition legion of users in Windows Phone. Doesnt make sense.
  • Id hope Samsung brings support(hopefully not on just their handsets like their printer app was unshackled)
  • Nice news, waiting for the app last year. Anybody know how to join to the beta testing?
  • This is leggit app. Some one mannaged to install it. There are pics there: http://forums.getpebble.com/discussion/8077/windows-phone-8-pebble-app/p18​ ​ ​