Sideload Helper Breathes New Life Into Pebble Smartwatches

The Rebble Sideload Helper icon over Pebble smartwatches
Rebble, Pebble

Pebble was once the “best bet” in the smartwatch market, but the cutting-edge device practically disappeared in 2016 due to an acquisition by Fitbit. Now, nearly a decade after the Pebble broke records on Kickstarter, the Rebble community is breathing new life into old Pebble watches with its Sideload Helper app.

In an age where smartwatches do more than they ought to, the simple Pebble smartwatch is like a breath of fresh air. But the Pebble app, which no longer receives developer support, can’t open .pbz, .pbw, and .pbl files anymore. These files allow you to manage and modify the Pebble digital watch face, language, and firmware—tasks that are necessary for enthusiasts hoping to use their old Pebble with newer Android devices.

Sideload Helper basically patches this functionality back into the Pebble app, and allows Pebble users to use the community-made Rebble Web Services with their smartwatch. Rebble Web Services fixes the apps previously managed by Pebble Technology Corporation’s servers, such as the Weather and Dictation apps.

Rebble’s Sideload Helper is just a temporary solution for many of the Pebble smartwatch’s problems. In the future, the Rebble community will release its own mobile app to fully replace the old Pebble app, a move that could keep Pebble smartwatches running for years to come. You can find more information on Rebble projects, plus the Sideload Helper app’s GitHub, on Rebble’s “Projects” page.

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Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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