Pebble Steel was introduced at CES 2014, and it looks like wearable technology may be about to get a little more mainstream — and a lot more sexy. In January, Pebble stepped up its game by releasing a stylish new smartwatch design called the Pebble Steel. While the original Pebble started as a crowd-funded project on Kickstarter, the company has had commendable success as the device hit the market just at the perfect time, when a mini revolution of wearable technology products from a wide variety of developers was just beginning, to include players such as well-known electronics maker Samsung.
Though the original Pebble smartwatch had instant appeal for the techno-geek and developer community, the CEO of the company, Eric Migocovsky, believes there's far more territory to cover and consumers to win over. In order to broaden the sphere of possible new customers, Migocovsky and company have taken into consideration the feedback provided by their base of over 300,000 users in redesigning the Pebble Steel to meet the more mainstream needs of future wearable technology consumers.
In creating the new design for the Pebble Steel, the company took into account two big complaints from its current customers: the size and shape of the smartwatch, and the visual appeal.
According to The Verge, some of Pebble's customers shared that while they enjoyed the functionality of the Pebble, the smartwatch itself was too tall and felt awkward on the arm. Other customers shared that they wished the Pebble was a watch they felt comfortable wearing at a dinner party.
With these two pieces of information in mind, Pebble Steel was redesigned and made its debut at CES 2014. While the second iteration of Pebble smartwatch is $100 dollars more than its predecessor, it offers a bit of style and panache that quite frankly, just may woo the inner technophile in anyone.
The Pebble Steel offers consumers two new design choices including either a steel grey or black face for the device and a Brushed Stainless or Black Matte chain. In addition, the box includes a leather strap to go along with the watch, allowing users to change the style with the occasion. The Pebble Steel also comes in a higher quality packaging, making the unboxing of the new smartwatch feel more luxurious.
When comparing the new Pebble steel against the original Pebble, users will notice the size of the watch has changed significantly. While the screen is still the same 1.26 inch display, the bezel around the device has been stripped away giving a sleeker more refined and less techy look and feel to the watch. The redesigned smartwatch is really sleek and sexy, and it's something just about anyone might feel comfortable wearing regardless of the setting.
While the external features of the device have changed, internally everything remains the same. Users still have the same e-paper display screen and a wide variety of clock faces they can choose from at popular Pebble sites like mypebblefaces.com.
In addition to the upgraded look and feel of the Pebble Steel, Pebble's also introduced new software that significantly expands the smartwatch's functionality. Now, instead of just providing notifications to users, Pebble is also capable of running apps itself — very similar to the way the Samsung's Galaxy Gear has been designed. Built into the new Pebble app for iOS or Android, the app store allows users to install and sync apps to their Pebble for popular sites like ESPN and Yelp. Some of the implications are that it provides you more real time data on things you care about. For example, with the earlier Pebble software users were restricted to just notifications such as who won a ball game you were tracking. Now, with apps like ESPN installed, users can check the running score of the game and other relevant stats, right from the smartwatch screen.
While there's still plenty of room for growth in the wearable technology and smartwatch department, Pebble, with its updated software and redesigned Pebble Steel, is definitely making some smart moves in the right direction. The original Pebble retails for $150 on the company website, while the new Pebble Steel is $249. For more on this product, check out the Pebble webpage here.
What do you think of the Pebble Steel? Will the device redesign lead more adoption of wearable technology by consumers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.