Pebble returns to CES with the new, premium Pebble Steel smart watch, which features a metal body and a Corning Gorilla Glass display, but that’s just for starters.
CEO Eric Migocovsky and the rest of the Pebble team certainly had an interesting 2013; having smashed their Kickstarter goal, CES 2013 played host to the first demo of a truly finished Pebble smart watch and heralded the rollout of the first-generation device to the company’s 85,000+ Kickstarter backers.
One year on and the Pebble team haven’t been resting on their laurels, instead bringing something new to the table in the form of the Pebble Steel. As you can see in Eric’s video, although the original plastic Pebble has been turning heads and carving its own path in the smart watch market, a shiny red watch might not always be the most sophisticated choice for formal situations. As such Pebble Steel is a more premium, elegant take on the original Pebble that uses superior materials and a reworked design.
On the inside Pebble Steel promises full support of all existing functionality and will launch running the latest 2.0 version of the Pebble OS, which features a redesigned notifications system and will support new, forthcoming features. Unlike the multitude of colourful plastic Pebbles, Pebble Steel will be made available in just two iterations; both made from marine-grade steel in either a brushed stainless or matt black finish. Whichever Steel you choose, the company is also including a leather wrist strap to swap out with the metal one.
The design is significantly different from the first-generation smart watch, the surround is smaller and flatter and the three hardware keys down the right-hand side have be redesigned. The company says that this new Pebble is water resistant up to five atmospheres and despite being predominantly metal, offers the same level of connection stability over Bluetooth. Although at launch it will serve for indicating charge, Pebble Steel also includes a new multicolour LED notifications light which developers will be able to make use of through the newly updated Pebble SDK.
Whilst the new hardware is a major element of Pebble’s presence at CES 2014, Migocovsky also confirmed that a Pebble app store is on the way and will be integrated into the existing iOS and Android apps. Until now users had to scour third-party online repositories for watch faces and applications, whereas from now on, the new store will serve as the go-to location for all things Pebble.
The price of Pebble Steel is naturally a little more than that of the classic Pebble at $249 (the original Pebble now costs $150), but even we’re tempted to join the 300,000 or so existing users and early orders will get free international shipping too.
Is Pebble a more approachable smart watch for everyone over the likes of the Sony SmartWatch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Gear? It’s entirely possible.
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