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Pebble Time smart watch takes on Apple Watch

Think of Pebble Time as the David to Apple Watch's Goliath. The third offering from Palo Alto, Calif. startup Pebble, Time is a smart watch poised to go up against Apple Watch as its highly anticipated launch approaches. And Time is coming out swinging.

Pebble launched a Kickstarter campaign for the watch Tuesday with a fundraising goal of $500,000. By midday Wednesday, the company had collected pledges totaling over $9 million.

It's not the first time they've accomplished such a feat.

Pebble got its start on Kickstarter in spring 2012, when it launched its first smart watch, and one of the first on the market, the eponymously named Pebble. The black and white e-paper watch worked via Bluetooth with iPhone and Android phones to display notifications and work with fitness apps. It took in $10.3 million, 10,266 percent of its target.

The Pebble watch started shipping in January of 2013, with a price tag of $150. It's since come down to $99. The watch underwent a number of upgrades, and the company released a fancier version called the Pebble Steel in 2014 for $199.

Pebble Time | SpecOut

Pebble Time ups the ante with a new operating system, thinner design and a microphone for responding to texts and emails. It's also got a color screen. And because it still uses the energy-efficient e-paper technology, it can show full color images and animations and still have a seven-day battery life.

That will beat out the Apple Watch by about six days -- and probably a little more. Will it look as good? Not at all. But you can look at it for a lot longer.

All this just a month or so before Apple's Watch launch.

"We're pretty much gearing up for battle," Pebble founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky told Re/code. "We're a 130-person company, up from three people just a couple years ago. They have 80,000 people. And we believe our product is ... stellar."

It's also cheaper. Kickstarter backers can snag one for $159 or $199, about half the cost of an Apple Watch, which will start at $349. (That's if they can get on the site, which crashed around noon Eastern Time Wednesday.)

Pebble Time is expected to be shipping in May, just on the heels of its big-name rival.

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