At CES 2014, there was a lot of talk about wearables and how this new technology category will be transforming the way we interact with our smartphones and monitor our daily lives. While companies like Sony and LG were busy showing off their first generation devices in this segment, Pebble chose CES to launch Pebble Steel.
Last week we had the opportunity to sit down with Myriam Joire, product evangelist at Pebble, to talk about the new Pebble Steel. In Myriam’s own words, the Pebble Steel looks “pretty damn awesome” and we happen to agree. The plastic shell and band from the original Pebble have been replaced with a CNC machined chassis and Gorilla Glass protected display, give\k g the new smartwatch a high-end jewelry feel–something that the original Pebble lacked. Whether you choose the Brushed Stainless or Black Matte finish, the Pebble Steel will be paired with a matching metal band and black leather strap. The Pebble Steel includes an LED notification light that shows the watch’s charging status when it is plugged in, but Pebble is also planning to give developers access to the LED light in the future so that it can be used to accompany notifications from specific apps.
Functionality between Pebble Steel and the original Pebble is identical. The smartwatch displays notifications from Android and iOS devices, allowing you to keep your phone tucked away in your pocket. The only advantage that the Pebble Steel has is a boost of internal storage, which allows you to install roughly double the number of applications. The new Pebble SDK 2.0 launched in late 2013 and is highlighted by apps from FourSquare, Yelp, GoPro, Pandora, ESPN and Mercedes. These Pebble apps allow for basic interactions such as: finding new restaurants, checking in at various locations, quickly finding the score of your favorite team or controlling your music without pulling your phone out of your pocket. Pebble owners should see quite a few more applications once the Pebble App Store launches.
Pebble Steel carries a price tag of $249, making it $100 more than the original Pebble and $50 less than the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The first batch of Pebble Steel smartwatches will ship January 28. If you didn’t place your order until a few days after the Pebble Steel was announced, your device will probably not ship until mid-February or even later, due to the overwhelming number of pre-orders Pebble has already received.
You can be sure there will be a lot more Pebble Steel coverage from us once we get our hands on a review unit later this month.