Pebble Steel hopes to deliver the same experience in a new stylish body

Часы PebbleWhen we last visited Pebble, we suspected that the startup was at least a few months away from updating its hardware. It turns out we were wrong. Announced today and available to order, Pebble is unveiling its latest revision, called Pebble Steel. Housing the same internal hardware (including the same e-paper display), Pebble Steel features a more traditional watch design while being smaller and thinner than the original.

The Pebble experience remains mostly unchanged. The same size display and identical internal silicon means developers have nothing to modify in their Pebble apps, though it launches with SDK 2.0 so apps based on earlier SDKs will be incompatible.

Pebble Steel hopes to deliver the same experience in a new stylish body

We had a few minutes to speak with Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky about the new hardware's development, and we were impressed to discover that work on a refreshed design started just after the original began shipping to Kickstarter backers. Early criticisms focused on the size of the device, particularly its length, and the inability to pair the device with dressier outfits. The original Pebble's design is unabashedly chunky, and the glossy plastic fits in well with jeans and a hoodie. Worn with a suit though, the Pebble stands out awkwardly. Pebble Steel, especially with an analog watch face, looks like a traditional watch.

Pebble is also announcing a few new app partners. The company previously revealed FourSquare, GoPro, iControl, and Yelp, and it's now adding Mercedes Benz, ESPN, and Pandora. Pebble's approach with these partners has been to focus on adding function while remaining experimental. The ESPN app is unique among these initiatives in that it doesn't require a separate app. The ESPN Pebble app uses the JavaScript API to pull scores and game information from its servers, displaying them on the Pebble without requiring a companion app. Users can browse multiple games, two at a time, and elect to follow individual games. Updates and news coming from games that are being followed can be pushed to the Pebble in addition to the normal polling data.

Unique use cases are also presented by other aspects of the Pebble SDK. The Yelp app provides the normal discovery elements you'd expect from its service, but it includes an added flourish. Flicking your wrist multiple times from within the app triggers the app to present you a random nearby destination.

Pebble Steel orders can be placed now at its portal, and the device will ship later this month. Coincident with shipping, Pebble will launch its previously announced app store featuring many of these partner apps. The original Pebble will remain priced at $149, while Pebble Steel will retail for $249. It will be available in brushed steel and black, and the watch will ship with both a matching steel band and a black leather band. This may just be the answer to discerning readers looking for a more sophisticated smartwatch.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: smartwatch

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