After the Pebble Smartwatch missed its second promised deadline of shipping by Christmas—the first deadline was by September of 2012—the project's backers, who helped the Smartwatch make the Kickstarter record of raising over $10 million, became concerned that they had been duped and that the Pebble was vaporware. Kickstarter gives relatively little insurance to project backers when project creators fail to deliver on their promise.
However, there were signs that the Pebble was ready to ship less than two weeks ago, when the Smartwatch gained FCC approval.
Now, at CES, in an interview with The Verge, CEO Eric Migicovsky revealed that the Smartwatch had a set shipping date of January 23rd. However, not all of the 85,000 orders for the watches will be filled out right away. Production simply can't keep up, as factories in China are outputting about 15,000 watches a week, meaning that backers will be getting their watches in batches. After filling out all of the Kickstarter orders, Pebble will continue manufacturing watches and fulfill the orders that were placed via their website.
Migicovsky then explained why the Pebble Smartwatch was delayed in the first place: the Smartwatch's overwhelming Kickstarter success. The project originally set a goal for raising only $100K dollars, so it's obvious that Migicovsky never expected—much less planned—to produce so many watches. Originally, Migicovsky only planned on making something in the ballpark of 1,000 to 2,000 units in the Bay Area.
That isn't to say that Migicovsky was completely blindsided by the amount of orders he received. After all, the watch's shipping date has only been delayed by a couple months, which is fairly impressive considering that he wasn't planning on mass producing the watch to begin with. Pebble's Plan B was to take manufacturing to Asia, and the company hired consultants to help the company carry out those plans. Between setting up production in Asia and attempting to get the watch ready, the September 2012 shipping date was no longer realistic.
What's Pebble's goal for the future? For now, Migicovsky plans on working out deals with developers to develop software for the smartwatch. "We're pretty confident that we've got the hardware right, down pat," Migicovsky said to The Verge. "Now it's just up to us to make sure that we're updating and continuing to publish updates on the software side."