I enjoy using my Kickstarter edition Pebble smartwatch and was looking forward to their 2014 news. To kick off the new year, Pebble announced the Pebble Appstore will launch in January, Pebble Steel can be pre-ordered now and will ship 28 January, and new partners Pandora, ESPN, and Mercedes-Benz joined their lineup.
I already wrote about the initial Appstore news and today's announcement presents a few more details. If you are a developer and want to get your application in to the Appstore at launch then you have to submit them by 9 January, just three days from now.
I added a new band to my Pebble last summer and wear it about 50% of the time. I also have a nice Citizen Eco-Drive watch I wear for more formal occasions. Thus, I was very pleased to hear about the upcoming new Pebble Steel and am thinking about pre-ordering the black matte one. They will be available for $249 with free worldwide shipping for early orders.
The Pebble Steel has the same e-paper display, 5 to 7 day battery life, waterproof design, and full functionality of the Pebble, while coming in a sleeker, more premium form factor. It is made of CNC-machined stainless steel and will be available in brushed stainless or black matte. It has a Gorilla Glass display with anti-fingerprint coating.
Pebble also added a RGB LED to the lower left corner that indicates charging status. I am glad to see this as that is one aspect that frustrates me on my existing Pebble.
At first I thought one had to choose between a metal or black leather band, but Pebble includes both in the retail package so you can easily switch between the two band types.
New Pebble partners
Pebble also announced that Pandora, ESPN, and Mercedes-Benz are joining their partner lineup that currently also includes Yelp, Foursquare, GoPro, and iControl.
These three new partners will be demoing their apps using the Pebble Steel this week at CES in Las Vegas.
2014 will likely see a major focus on wearable technology and as a long time user of wearable tech I am looking forward to further adoption and functionality.
While I believe we will see many more smartwatch releases in 2014, I am thinking I may purchase a Pebble Steel because Pebble is doing a fantastic job providing just what I need in a smartwatch without adding unnecessary functionality (such as a camera). Then again, I would like to see if Google launches a Google Now watch during Google I/O in a few months so may stick with my existing Pebble.