Yup, my Pebble’s connected… but not for long.
Shortly after grabbing this screen from my phone I uninstalled the Pebble app for Android and powered down my Pebble Time Steel. Again. Just to explain what’s going on here, it’s the notification panel of my phone, with a frame from an excellent Android utility called OS Monitor, showing that the Pebble companion app is using almost 30% of my CPU. That translates to a battery drain of about 10% per hour. Where I often go to bed before midnight with a half-full battery, since firing up my Pebble again my phone has never even made it to dinner on a full charge.
So what’s going on here? According to a user on the Pebble Forums the app is hammering the Pebble servers for some unknown reason. And the only reliable fix for afflicted devices is to force them into offline mode—that is, sever any connection beyond the Bluetooth link between phone and watch. Unfortunately this kills much of the functionality that made Pebble so great: weather data, speech-to-text, Pebble Health… The watch faces I depended on when I was a full-time Pebbler all had weather complications; without them a big part of Pebble’s appeal is lost.
But wait, there’s more!
Pebblers have also reported that thumbnails for their watch faces and apps are disappearing from the phone app, like you can see above (it happened to me as well). This one can at least be fixed. The problem, as described on r/pebble, is a faulty certificate—the thumbnails actually aren’t local to your phone, but live instead on Pebble servers for some reason. Running an Android app called Packet Capture can fix the connection and restore your thumbnails, at least temporarily.
Of course that still may leave you with a watch that murders your phone battery. What I thought would be a fun couple of days getting re-acquainted with my Pebble turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Maybe Fitbit should just shut down their Pebble servers altogether and be done with it.