After a rocky road, Pebble smart watch to ship on Jan. 23

Some 85,000 customers waiting patiently, and some not so patiently, were rewarded with good news about their Pebble smart watch. At the 2013 International Consumer Electronics show, the company behind the Pebble announced that after months of delays, the e-paper watch will start shipping on Jan. 23. The product is well known as one of the best-funded projects on Kickstarter, raising more than $10 million last May.
Originally, the Pebble watch was expected to ship last September. But the Pebble team informed its many backers of a number of delays. Some had hoped for delivery in time for the 2012 holiday season, but that time came and went. Perhaps as some consolation for the wait, the Pebble team announced Wednesday that two additional sensors would be part of the watch: a magnetometer, for compass-like functions, and ambient light sensors. Both will be enabled in a future update.
The black-and-white faced watch is compatible with both Apple’s iPhone(s aapl) and various Google Android(s goog) handsets. When connected wirelessly to a supported handset, the Pebble can receive notifications for incoming text messages, calls, emails, and provides alerts for calendar appointments, weather alerts, Twitter and Facebook. Because the watch uses a low-powered e-paper display, it can run on a single charge for up to a full week.
Perhaps more important than the basic phone notifications and alerts, however, is the promise of third-party application support. A Pebble SDK is available for developers and one of the early partners is the RunKeeper exercise tracking application. Although the watch will ship later this month, the app integration with RunKeeper isn’t expected until March.