Smartwatch maker Pebble is back with two new price drops and some news about its OS that’s sure to make consumers smile.
First, let’s get to the price drops. Pebble’s decided to drop the prices of its first-generation Pebble and second-generation Pebble Steel smartwatches, with the first-generation Pebble now selling for $99 ($199 original, dropped to $149 at one point) and the second-generation Pebble Steel now selling for $199 (down from $249 originally).
The first-generation Pebble smartwatch was a big hit with Consumer Reports, with the company saying that the watch was excellent for its 5-7-day battery, water resistance, its basic look that didn’t make you look like a tech geek for wearing it. A number of consumers didn’t mind the E-ink display and viewed the Pebble as a device fit for any consumer, no matter the operating system.
While the first-generation Pebble provided a plastic look that didn’t inspire confidence in the product for fashionable tech enthusiasts, Pebble’s remade its smartwatch in the Pebble Steel. The name itself still needs some work, but the steel smartwatch does seem to be more acceptable to fashionable tech enthusiasts – even with its larger price tag. Best Buy has permanently dropped the price of the first-generation Pebble, which means that the $99 price tag is here to stay.
While we certainly applaud Pebble for its price drop and am glad to see consumers have an affordable option for a smartwatch, we also believe that Pebble should make a more digital display that will appeal to consumers. The Pebble and Pebble Steel smartwatches have excellent battery life, but they also have E-ink displays – which don’t match the displays found on most popular smartphones. Since the smartwatch should be an extension of the smartphone, an E-ink display (no matter how battery-saving) is a “fashion clash” with the digital displays of Android smartphones and the iPhone.
If you’re interested in some additional good news, Pebble’s decided to bring Jawbone and Misfit fitness activity tracking apps to Pebble’s own Pebble OS, with the apps being baked in (somewhat) to the operating system. In days past, one could use these fitness tracking apps by opening them on the watch before they would start tracking miles and distance; now, these apps will track distance and calories in the background while you do other things.
Along with fitness-tracking activity integration into Pebble OS will come other apps such as Swim.com’s swim app that will measure swim strokes. After all, the Pebble does have some measure of strong water resistance, so Swim.com’s app will function well for individuals who want to take their Pebble smartwatch under the sea or in a pool. Pebble says that sleep-tracking capabilities could also come to the Pebble smartwatch, placing it in the same category as some other high-end smartwatches on the market.
The Pebble smartwatch is still an excellent buy at $99, despite the E-ink display and plastic look and feel that we’ve been told it has by consumers who’ve purchased the device. In fact, most smartwatches on the market (we’re thinking of you, Android Wear platform) are too expensive for the limited functionality they provide. With only Google Now’s voice command in Android Wear, Android Wear devices should wear the $99 price tag in terms of functionality.
We realize that Android Wear manufacturers disagree with us, but we also know that Android Wear is focused on selling fashion over functionality – which, in the minds of some, warrants the $199+ price tag (or higher, as in the case of the Moto 360 at $250 and plastic-OLED LG G Watch R which will likely retail at around the same price).
If you’re excited to see a smartwatch finally drop in price to something that many consumers will find more affordable, then head on over to either the Pebble website or Best Buy to place your order. Any takers?