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A look back at the Rebble hackathon

At the tail end of 2022, we ran our first ever hackathon. It was initially posed as a bit of an experiment — we know roughly how many Rebble users there are, but developing for the Pebble smartwatch has become a little trickier over the years since the shutdown of CloudPebble. In the end, however, it was a fantastic weekend of likeminded hackers building new apps and watchfaces for the smartwatch platform the community stubbornly refuses to let die.

In this post I’d like to recap the weekend, talk about the awesome submissions and prize winners, and thank the team that made this possible.

The event

We were very open from the start that this was a bit of an experiment — mainly because we were a little worried that it might be announced as a big event, and then only two people would show up! We put together an outline of a plan on a dedicated hackathon page, included it in a blog post, and built a VM for easier development. Then it was simply a matter of waiting for the countdown to hit zero.

You’ll notice we named the first event Hackathon #001, the triple digits reflecting our hope that this was the first of many community hackathons. This would of course hinge on more than one person showing up.

Word spread on Twitter, Reddit, and even on Make:, and then, on the 18th of November, we launched the event!

Liftoff 🚀

Some users were really excited for a weekend of hacking away on their favourite smartwatch platform; others used it as an excuse to develop their first app or watchface.

The timer hit zero, the little animation I built (using icons made by our talented @Lav) launched into space, and the event was live! On our Discord server, we opened up some new channels where people could chat with one another, as well as a forum channel where each hackathon project could get its own discussion area. They filled up fast!

It was so exciting to see new projects appearing throughout the weekend. Every couple of hours another few posts would appear. Any project completed during the weekend would receive stickers, and we’d also announced mystery prize(s) for our favourite apps, so there was a real buzz around the event. Some users hacked away at projects all weekend long (we do hope you went outside at some point), others worked on projects in the few free hours they had. Shout out to John Spahr who waited until the second the hackathon launched to submit their app and make sure they got at least one submission in!

Day 1 done 📅

After the first day of hacking 48 people had worked on their Pebble apps, 6 of which were already live on the store!

The rest of the weekend saw app after app, watchface after watchface uploaded to the store. People discussed ideas and tips on Discord, and a few participants even dared to join the voice chat. Before we knew it Sunday evening had arrived, and brought with it the end of our first ever hackathon.

The event was quite a lot of effort to co-ordinate, and as we later discovered, the trickiest part was to come (sending stickers and prizes all over the world is no simple task). It was completely worth it, however, to see so many in the community come out and join in. We had over 50 people working on projects, and many more Rebblers were on the Discord server encouraging, giving feedback or advice, and generally making it a great event. When you consider how niche an event this was, 50 participants blew me away!

Thank you to everyone involved, and we hope to see you again for Hackathon #002!

The ✨ Awesome ✨ submissions

There was no mandate given for this Hackathon, “Create something cool” was about the extent of it. Some people wanted to build apps, others put their design hats on and built watchfaces.

Every user who submitted something was eligible to get some neat Rebble stickers, but to make things more interesting we promised prizes to the best submissions, and based on what was submitted, decided on prizes for ‘best watchface’, ‘best tool’ and ‘best game’. Runners-up would also get prizes.

So let’s look at some of the awesome new things created by the community, as well as the winners!

Watchfaces ⌚

Custom watchfaces are what made Pebble so great back in the day, and even outside the hackathon we see a steady stream of new faces uploaded through our developer portal to our appstore. During the hackathon, 14 new faces were uploaded, with some users even taking the time to make fancy appstore banners or animated screenshot for their store listing.

This blog post is long enough already, so I won’t go into detail for every watchface here. But you should check them all out on the appstore! From top-left to bottom-right they are:

Each one of these watchfaces was made with love by an awesome member of our community, so thanks once more for helping keep our Pebbles alive!

Runner Up: Best Watchface

This category was tricky, but after much deliberation the runner up for Best Watchface went to Electric by Stefan Bauwens:

Electric is a really neat watchface that displays the time and date on a nice graphic of a PCB. On the bottom left is what looks like an LED array. To make things even more impressive, you can pick what’s displayed on this LED array and even automate it through tasker! It’s a really nice touch to an already impressive looking watchface.

Like all runners up & winners, Stefan received a fresh, boxed up Pebble watched signed by Eric Migicovsky!

🏆 Winner: Best Watchface

The winner for best watchface was Pixel by Nikki Murello! Pixel is an extensively customisable watchface that we felt captured people’s love of the Pebble platform.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a watchface, and please know that picking two winners was so hard — all the submissions were fantastic!

Watch apps

We decided to break the watch apps category in half for picking winners: Tools and Games. We received a wide number of tools, but before we get to the winners, let’s look at all the watch apps across both categories that were submitted!

The quality of apps submitted during the hackathon blew me away. Watchapps can be tricky to make, and take a lot of time; it cannot be overstated just how impressive all the submissions were. From top-left to bottom-right the submissions are:

Runner Up: Best Tool

The runner up for Best Tool was Bilbikes 2.0! Pebbles were born out of an idea around cycle computers, and it was great to see a community focused app created around cycling in 2022.

Thanks to Israel for their efforts, and we hope they enjoy their prize:

🏆 Winner: Best Tool

The winner of the Best Tool category was City Buddy by João Luís! It’s a great little navigation app with custom icons that capture the Pebble spirit.

The Pebble iconography was one of the things that gave the whole UX a very cutesy feel. Any app that creates new icons in this style is a great addition to the appstore!

Runner Up: Best Game

All the games submitted were fantastic, and I play most of them whenever I have a few minutes to kill.

The runner up for best game was Searching Emery by Helco. This game, which is centered around searching for the Pebble model that never was is a mind blowing demonstration of what you can achieve with the Pebble hardware. The doom-esque game is played sideways, and is super impressive. Definitely check it out on the appstore today!

🏆 Winner: Best Game

Last but certainly not least is our winner for Best Game: FRIQ by Matthew Hungerford! FRIQ is a seemingly simple physics-based game involving firing 2d balls on screen, but it’s deceptively tricky and very addictive!

And that is the last of our winners! Congratulations to everyone who received a prize — we hope you really enjoy the small token of our appreciation! ❤️

Did someone say stickers? 🥳

Everyone who took part in the hackathon is eligible to receive stickers. We did have some issues getting these sent out, so some of you might not have received them yet, but as of this week they are all in the post at the very least! If you have any concerns about your sticker shipment, email me at and we’ll make sure they get to you!

🧡🧡 Thank You 🧡🧡

Thank you to everyone who took part and continues to be a part of this amazing community. Rebble couldn’t do it without you.

We also couldn’t do it without our amazing team of volunteers across the planet. So thanks to:

The end

I hope this post doesn’t take as long to read as it did to write. Hackathon #001 was a huge success and will definitely be followed up by Hackathon #002, so keep an eye out here on or on Discord for future updates. You can also use the Discord #releases channel to see every new app, watchface and update to hit the appstore. Thanks for making it this far, catch you all at the next Hackathon!

- Will <3