Unlike the iPhone and iOS, which offer skeletal native support for devices like the Pebble at the system level, Pebble on Android is all about the app. That’s where you manage everything, and at first glance it makes far more sense: all the settings are in one place, and you can quickly and easily make tweaks like having the watch show alerts for one email account but not another.

But there are some drawbacks to having an all-powerful app take the place of system-level support: Pebble’s Android app needs broad permissions to your phone, including your Gmail account passwords. (Android users see more of each email on the Pebble than iPhone users because the app is actually checking your email over IMAP, not just seeing notifications.) You also need to turn on Android’s accessibility features so the app can read your notifications and send them along to the phone, which pops up a scary warning about the app reading all your text input. I trust Pebble to behave itself, but that’s a lot of leeway with my data and personal information.


And because everything on Android happens within the Pebble app, you’re also limited to getting notifications from only the apps Pebble’s had time to support. That means you can get Facebook notifications but not Twitter, for example. WhatsApp is supported but not GroupMe. I assume the company is feverishly working to support more apps, but if your favorite isn’t on the list, you could be waiting for a while.

As with Pebble’s iPhone support, these are minor irritations, and once you’ve got Pebble up and running, it works perfectly as intended. But it’s an interesting tradeoff: in many ways the Pebble experience on Android is better than the iPhone today, but it feels a little hackier.


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