Pebble Drops Prices and Adds Fitness Tracking
The Pebble Smartwatch didn’t create the smartwatch market, but the popular Kickstarter campaign did popularize the market and likely kicked off the current craze of smartwatches from big names like Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola. Pebble makes a simple yet feature-rich smartwatch that brings useful notifications and the ability to run some great apps all on the wrist all while connected to either an Android phone or iPhone. They added a touch of class when they released the Pebble Steel earlier this year.
Pebble Price Drops
Pebble announced a price drop of their flagship smartwatch, the Pebble Steel. The previous $250 price drops to $200, which makes it the same price as the Samsung Gear Live Android Wear smartwatch. LG introduced their smartwatch, the LG G Watch at $229, but then dropped the price to $179. The third Android Wear entry comes from Motorola. The Moto 360, the first round Android Wear smartwatch, costs $250. This puts the newly priced Pebble Steel right in the middle of the pack of currently available popular smartwatches, but it offers a couple of tricks that Android Wear watches don’t.
Possibly more appealing to the average smartphone owner, the original Pebble Steel now sells for only $99. This price makes it easily the best price for a smartwatch packed with features. Other smartwatches sell for less, but they also do only one thing, like track steps and/or heart rates of people while working out.
Pebble Fitness Tracking Improvements
The Pebble blog also shared that a software update to both the Pebble Steel and original Pebble Smartwatch will enable “non-stop activity tracking and sleep monitoring.” Activity tracking refers to things like step monitoring that shows a users the number of steps taken in a day. Users no longer need to switch away from their favorite watch face to a fitness app to temporarily track such activity.
The blog entry highlighted the watch’s best-in-class battery life, which lasts anywhere from three to seven days without charging the watch. Owners can wear their Pebble to bed and track sleep cycles, thanks to the multi-day battery life. They don’t have to take it off and charge the watch each night, like Android Wear and future Apple Watch owners do.
Pebble mentioned three specific fitness or activity tracking apps in their announcement. Misfit, Jawbone, and Swim.com will use the updated features to give users the ability to do constant fitness tracking. Misfit brings social networking to fitness tracking. The Jawbone Up watch face helps uses track their activity throughout the day and the app gives deeper insight into a user’s health figures. The Swim.com app tracks swimming activity, thanks to the Pebble’s waterproof feature.
The new features comes in the form of an app and firmware update. Update the Pebble app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Then load the Pebble app on either an Android smartphone or iPhone and the app will find the updated firmware, download it and install it on the watch.
One more cool new feature in this update lets users put quick launch shortcuts to their favorite apps from within a watch face. See more details and how steps for upgrading at the Pebble news announcement.
Benefits of Pebble Over Competition
The makers of Android Wear watches brag about the bright colorful screens and tight integration with Google Now. However, until Apple releases the Apple Watch, the Pebble is one of the few smartwatches that work with an iPhone. Users can find a few smartwatches without as many features that work with an iPhone, but the Pebble does more than any of these for similar or lower prices.
In addition to compatibility, the Pebble watches last longer than any of the Android Wear watches, and longer than the expected battery life of the Apple Watch. In testing the Pebble often lasts almost a full week.