Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014, 20:03
Category: Accessory, Announcement, Consumer Electronics, Wearables
Pebble kicked off CES 2014 today with a live stream of its new products. You can see a replay here on the Pebble blog page. The two biggest announcements were the introduction of the Pebble Steel and the upcoming Pebble appstore. The Pebble Steel, as its name suggests, is a new line of watches made of forged and CNC-machined stainless steel, adding a classier look to the now iconic smart watch. The Steel comes in two styles, brushed stainless and matte black. Both watches also come with a second, black leather strap in case you prefer leather over the standard metal band.
The watch face is made from Gorilla Glass for added durability. Otherwise, the watch in terms of functionality is exactly the same as the original Pebble, including being waterproof to 5M and the proprietary magnetic connector for charging. Essentially the only difference is the case material. The new watches are expected to ship later this month and you can preorder at their web site for $249. The second announcement was to introduce the Pebble appstore, coming sometime in February, which will be accessible through an update to the current smartphone apps. Just like the Apple and Android stores, you can browse available apps and watch faces, and download them into your Pebble. The Pebble still seems to maintain limited space for apps, so the appstore will maintain a list of the items you have downloaded so they can easily be swapped to and from the Pebble. Related to this, the demo showcased some of the apps that will be coming to the appstore such as Foursquare, Yelp, Pandora, and an app from ESPN which provides real-time score information.
Frankly, I’m pretty excited about this. I was initially a Pebble skeptic, but I’ve since found mine to be incredibly useful, and while I love the red watch case, it would be nice to have a dressier watch. I’m also glad to see Pebble actively adding functionality to the watch, so I no longer think it may be a flash-in-the-pan product. Now, the other companies just have to catch up. I haven’t been impressed with the offerings from other companies like Samsung, so it will be interesting to see what Apple has to pull out of its hat.