As promised, Pebble has big plans for 2014, and it all starts today with the announcement of the Pebble Steel.
Despite humble beginnings, with the original Pebble coming to life via a $10 million Kickstarter campaign, the company has today announced, via a CES keynote, that the Pebble is getting a premium big-brother, in the form of the approximately $278 AUD Pebble Steel. With the original now described by Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky as a more ‘sporty’ looking device, the Pebble Steel is visually much more mature smart-watch.
Now enclosed in an all-stainless steel, CNC-machined body, the Pebble Steel is a statement of how far the company has come. With an improved manufacturing process, the new watch comes in steel gray or black and includes a leather strap in the box. And speaking of the box, The Verge reports that overall, the packaging of the Pebble Steel is more premium, including a set of tools to adjust the new straps. It’s also heavier, however looks much more dazzling, rather than plastic. It feels, and even looks, like a regular steel watch. A strip of black plastic allows for a continued use of Bluetooth, while an RGB LED allows for charging feedback, and other functionality if developers choose to use it.
Internally, the components of the Pebble remain the same, excusing a RAM upgrade from 4MB to 8MB, while the software will ship with Version 2.0, which includes a new App Store. Apps from Foursquare, Pandora, and ESPN already exist on the device, however the new store will, as Migicovsky shows through a Pebble-built game, Piny Wings, give a much bigger stage to developers, with an expectation for a flood of new functionality.
However, to move forward, Pebble has had to let go of the previous Pebble’s connector, with the new magnetic charging plug included in the box. For first-time Pebble owners, this won’t make an impact, but it is a shame.
Shipping January 28th for approximately $278 AUD, the Pebble Steel finally brings the Smartwatch into a bold new reality, where such a thing might become desirable. It’s a more mature Pebble, a more realistic Pebble. And an exciting step forward. The original Pebble will remain on sale, with no price-drop at this time.