Pebble, the buzzy company behind the smartwatch of the same name, is dropping the price of its devices and adding new fitness-tracking capabilities thanks to software from big names in the space like Jawbone, maker of the UP bands, and Misfit, maker of the Shine fitness tracker that was featured in an Apple commercial this summer.
Starting Tuesday, the entry-level Pebble will cost $US99. The Pebble Steel, which is basically the same device as the regular Pebble but comes encased in a metal body, will cost $US199.
Pebble watches work with both Android phones and the iPhone and can show you incoming notifications like texts, tweets, calls, and emails. Pebble also has its own app store that lets you install apps on the watch. It has a black and white screen, but that allows the watch to last about five days on a charge. Most colour smartwatches, like those made by Samsung, can only last about two days.
Pebble users will get access to a software update Tuesday that unlocks the device’s fitness-tracking features. It will be able to track basic stuff like your steps and sleep with the help of software from Jawbone, Misfit, and Swim.com, a service that tracks your swimming workouts.
It’s a significant step for Pebble, which first exploded in the tech world when it raised $US10.2 million on crowdfunding site Kickstarter in 2012. Pebble is still one of the most successful crowdfunded projects ever.
By dropping the entry price from $US150 to $US99, Pebble is significantly cheaper than current competing smartwatches. Google’s Android Wear watches cost at least $US200, but only work with certain Android phones. Apple will sell the Apple Watch in early 2015 starting at $US349, but the price could be well into the thousands for the high-end models.
Pebble’s new pricing is designed to reach a scale the pricey smartwatches can’t. Plus, Pebble isn’t married to one smartphone platform like Android Wear is and the Apple Watch will be.
“We’re not trying to make a luxury product like Apple’s making,” Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky said in an interview with Business Insider last week. “Pebble is a watch. It has notifications, but it’s not meant to be anything more. It’s not meant to be a computer on your wrist. And the price reflects that.”
Pebble is expanding to new retailers soon too. It will be available at Sam’s Club, Sprint stores, and European retailers like Dixons.