Yesterday, a new faceless “watch” called Durr that simply vibrates every five minutes got a big feature over at Verge. It’s an interesting concept, and in his article Aaron Souppouris compared the experience to that of wearing a Pebble. That inspired a Pebble developer to try to accomplish the same thing, albeit without the need for a brand new device, and the result is Purr, an app for the upcoming Pebble OS 2.0.
The Purr app mimics the Durr’s functionality exactly, vibrating the Pebble on your wrist every five minutes, and presenting nothing on the display at all. It simply deactivates the Pebble’s screen, rather than presenting any kind of watch face or any other information. The idea behind both the Purr app and the Durr watch are the same: To remind you every few minutes that time is passing, and possibly to inspire you to enjoy time more by noting that fact.
There are some key differences between both approaches, however: The Durr lacks any screen whatsoever, meaning you won’t be tempted to check your other apps or watchfaces. Plus, notifications from your phone still make it through when you’re using Purr on the Pebble, which is either an advantage or a downside depending on how committed you are to the philosophy behind the design of the Durr. Also, as Purr is in beta and running on pre-release Pebble OS 2.0 software, it currently exhibits some odd behavior; specifically, vibrations repeat a number when each five-minute period is up, and the pattern or sequence doesn’t seem to follow any rhyme or reason. These are issues that Purr developer James Brooks says he’s working on resolving, however.
A watch that’s literally constantly reminding you of time slipping through your grip, and by extension your own mortality, is a little bit of an outlier need from a gadget. But it’s a perfect early example of how Pebble’s new SDK 2.0 can unlock a lot of potential for developers. We’ve only just begun to see the value of a smartwatch as a platform, but the overall flexibility is beginning to show.