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pebble smartwatch

The team behind the much-talked-about Pebble smartwatch has finished taking orders on Kickstarter, with 85,000 orders placed for the device and $10.1 million raised thus far.

While there are eight days still to go on the Kickstarter countdown, people can only donate $1 now that the 85,000 order limit has been reached. A $1 donation will get you “exclusive updates” about Pebble going forward.

Pebble integrates with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and uses an E-Ink display to show information like call data, calendar entries, and social media updates. After more than a few terrible attempts at creating a decent smartwatch, it looks like Pebble has found the right elements with an elegant design and customizable app experience.

More than 66,000 people have donated to Pebble’s Kickstarter thus far. To fulfill its side of the deal, the Pebble team has about five months to build and ship all of the watches people have ordered. People who pledged to Pebble paid between $99 to $125 for a watch, whereas the device will retail for $150 after it gets off the ground.

Pebble has already begun grabbing app partners, with Runkeeper — a popular app for measuring and tracking your fitness — being announced as the first official app for Pebble.

The Pebble story and a few other standouts like Double Fine Adventures are indicative of the new wave of user-powered funding. Crowdfunding contributed an estimated $1.5 billion to new ventures in 2011 and that number will likely double by the end of the year.

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