Got a tip for us? Share it...

Pebble Smart Watch Waterproofing Makes Repairs Impossible as Low-Energy Bluetooth Support Questioned

iFixit has done a teardown of the Pebble smart watch and declared it unrepairable due to the amount of adhesive used to waterproof the device. iFixit could only manage to disassemble the watch by breaking the e-ink screen.

pebble-innards
The innards of the Pebble are unsurprisingly very simple, with the multicontroller unit, three-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth radio all contained on a single board alongside other support components.

One surprise noted in the teardown is that the Bluetooth radio does not appear to conform to the 4.0 low-energy protocol (BLE) claimed in its specs. The Panasonic PAN1316 RF module used in the Pebble is supposed to contain Texas Instruments' CC2564 Bluetooth controller, which supports BLE, but iFixit found a CC2560A chip that does not support BLE inside the package. Pebble had previously noted that it was using a chip that would support BLE but that it would not ship with support enabled, promising that it would be added via a software update at a later date.

The good news for Pebble owners is that opening it is unlikely to be necessary: the battery is expected to last for ten years, and the watch strap can be replaced without opening the watch.

Update 9:26 AM: iFixit has updated its article and Pebble has posted on Reddit to confirm that BLE support is indeed possible.
Many chip vendors make silicon consistent between product lines but simply flash different firmware to enable features. Our chips were labeled CC2560 because TI asked us if we wouldn't mind using them with CC2564 firmware to speed up our order. Pebble most definitely has Bluetooth LE support, though it has not yet been enabled in our operating system.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

Posted: 15 months ago
Shame they wont be able to sell videos and parts on how to repair it now.
Rating: 12 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Seriously, iFixit need to go die.

They just bash stuff that they can't sell price-inflated Chinese copy parts for. They're as much a reviewer as I am.
Rating: 7 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Watches are pretty much disposable-when-broken items anyway. Who fixes a watch anymore, if it's not a Rolex or some other expensive heirloom style piece?
Rating: 7 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Not surprising, such a small device calls for smaller, integrated parts.
Rating: 6 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Please stop posting anything to do with ifix.
I know I'm just one person, but I do have the ability to get my rumors elsewhere.
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
As per Engadget:

Update: Well, we've finally heard back from Pebble and it seems the watch does have support for Bluetooth Low Energy. The confusion comes from the fact that, although the TI controller inside is label as a CC2560 (which lacks support for BLE) it actually carries the same firmware as the CC2564 which does support the protocol through Panasonic's RF module.
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Sooner or later iFixit won't anything to fix anymore.
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Does Macrumors have a partnership with iFixit? It seems like we're all supposed to care about this, but no one, and I mean NO ONE I know has ever opted to do a self-repair on a modern Apple product when it's still covered by Applecare. Also, was anyone on the planet REALLY interested in tearing open a Pebble watch to fix it, when it could easily be replaced by the manufacturer? This isn't the Industrial Revolution still. Companies do things like refunds, warranties, and repairs. It's quite amazing. That brings me back to my original question - WHY is everything iFixit says posted here, and what's the compelling reader interest?
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
I am wondering even it is not water-proof without the glue, are you still able to fix the circuit?
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
What the hell? No BLE? Are they using counterfeit PAN1316 modules? (Maybe relabelled PAN1315s)

Not good news for third party app support.
Rating: 2 Positives

[ Read All Comments ]