January 8, 2014

Pebble Reveals New, Sleek Smartwatch

At CES 2014, Pebble unveiled the all new Pebble Steel. The first Pebble smartwatch was made mostly out of plastic, which made it look like more of a toy than a high-end watch. The Pebble Steel changes all that with an all-new design. It features a stainless steel chassis and a steel wrist strap, with a leather strap included in case you prefer that. It is also smaller than the previous generation of Pebble smartwatches and with a Corning Gorilla Glass covered screen, it makes the Pebble Steel one of the best looking smartwatches on the planet.


The Pebble Steel is definitely a snazzy looking watch, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The Steel will cost you $249 USD, which is $100 more than the original version. The new watch is mainly a cosmetic overhaul with the same ePaper display, which isn’t touch activated, and also the buttons remain in the same exact positions as the previous generation. A few hardware differences include a RGB notification light, and an improved Bluetooth antenna that surrounds the body of the watch. And best of all, it is still as waterproof as its older counterpart.

Instead of the various color options you had on the plastic Pebble smartwatch, you are now limited to two colors - “Brush Stainless” and “Black Matte”. However, these are pretty nice looking colors, which makes the watch look like it was made by a major watch manufacturer such as Cartier. Plus, with a black bezel surrounding the ePaper display, it gives the illusion that the display was never there.

A feature lacking from Pebble’s products were compatible apps. But according to CEO Eric Migicovsky, Yelp, ESPN, Mercedes, and Pandora were some of the companies that will be offering apps for Pebble smartwatches by the end of January.

With the product shipping in February, it is still early to decide if the extra $100 for a better looking watch is worth it. The original Pebble will run new apps, so software-wise, there’s no reason to get the newer version. However, for those of you who want a fancier look, the Pebble Steel is definitely worth a look.

"Las Vegas, NV (January 6, 2014) – Pebble Steel, the premium watch for iOS and Android, is the newest addition to Pebble’s smartwatch family. Proudly announced today just in time for CES, Pebble Steel wraps everything users know and love about Pebble—clear ePaper display, week-long battery life, and waterproof design—into a slimmer, classic form factor. Available now in Black Matte or Brushed Stainless exclusively on getpebble.com for $249, worldwide shipments of Pebble Steel will begin January 28.“With Pebble, we created an iconic, colorful, and sporty smartwatch,” says Product Evangelist Myriam Joire, “but we wanted to build something even more refined. Pebble Steel cranks the style dial to 11.”Pebble Steel unites modern technology and timeless design, coming in two finishes: Brushed Stainless and Black Matte. All models are bundled with both a matching metal band and a black leather strap. The Black Matte Pebble Steel is crafted using a process called Physical Vapor Deposition to provide a tactile, deep black finish that’s also ultra-durable. Pebble Steel’s ePaper display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass lens with an oleophobic, anti-fingerprint coating. The housing also subtly incorporates a RGB LED light to indicate charge status. Like the original Pebble, Pebble Steel is waterproof up to 5 ATM.“Our mission is clear,” says CEO Eric Migicovsky. “Create the gold standard for wearables that mesh perfectly with your everyday life, and build the fundamental ecosystem and platform for these devices.”During CES 2014, Pebble partners Pandora, iControl, and Mercedes-Benz will feature Pebble Steel in hands-on demos of their new Pebble app integrations. These pioneering brands join ESPN, Yelp, Foursquare, and GoPro as part of Pebble’s growing app family, ready to bring tiny moments of awesome to Pebblers’ wrists every day."

Merlin Zhao is a writer and graphic designer at [blank]'s Universe. He is also a technology enthusiast with his expertise in mobile devices. Merlin enjoys playing the Bass Clarinet with his high school band.