Pebble launches new Steel smart watch, app store at CES

The smart watch maker that relocated from Waterloo, Ont. to Silicon Valley so it could raise money on Kickstarter for its first product is now launching its second watch, Pebble announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

When CEO Eric Migicovsky couldn’t raise money to support his hardware startup in Canada, he jetted south of the border to Palo Alto, Calif. where Pebble’s new company headquarters is based. There, he started a record breaking Kickstarter campaign that saw more than $10 million raised to produce Pebble’s first smart watch. Now its second wearable technology item has been unveiled today at CES, the Pebble Steel.

Just like the first-generation Pebble, Steel will pair with iOS and Android smartphones. It offers a clear ePaper display, week-long battery life, and a waterproof design that is available in black matter or brushed stainless. Pre-orders for worldwide shipments are available now on Pebble’s website for $249 USD.

In a video announcement (see below) made at 2:00 PM ET, Migicovsky shared that Pebble has made 300,000 sales and made major retail partners in several different countries including Canada. Donning a black blazer, the CEO acknowledged the watch is aimed at a more professional audience.

“With Pebble Steel we’ve taken the features you know and love, upgraded the materials, trimmed the fat, and created a much more stylish smart watch,” he says in the video. “It’s slimmer on your wrist and thinner than Pebble.”

Another new feature includes an RGB LED light in the lower left-hand corner to indicate charge status, but app developers could tap into that LED for other purposes. The watch is compatible with existing Pebble apps.

Pebble will also be launching its own app store at the end of January. The Pebble App Store will resemble other app storefronts with apps organized into categories, curated most popular lists, and the many different watch faces that have been developed for Pebble. Developers can upload their apps now, and must do so by Jan. 9 if they want to be included in the app store’s debut.

“Our app store is the very first open platform for sharing apps optimized for a wearable,” Migicovsky said. “You can find and download apps straight from your phone, it’s super simple.”

Pebble is also announcing several app partners at CES, including Yelp, ESPN, Foursquare, and GoPro.

Here’s Migicovsky’s announcement video. The app store announcement begins at 6:45. The Pebble Steel announcement starts at 8:55. Demos of several apps on Pebble begin at 13:09.

Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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