If price has been a key factor in your purchase of a smartwatch, a new offer from Pebble may make you reconsider. A Pebble watch price drop is not due to competition, however, the company says.
Pebble has announced that its landmark smartwatch will now cost $99. A second device, the Pebble Steel, has dropped to $199. These discounts are permanent, the company announced on the official Pebble Developer Blog recently. That’s $50 off the price of the Pebble and $30 off the price of Pebble Steel.
Pebble says the price cuts are a way of making the smartwatch more accessible. In addition to the discount, Pebble will also be available at more retailers, including Sam’s Club, Fry’s Electronics and at some Sprint mobile stores. Retailers Best Buy and Target already carry the Pebble smartwatch.
With the price cuts also come updates to Pebble’s rudimentary operating system. The company says that Pebble will now monitor your activity around the clock. This includes physical activity, like workouts or walks, and sleep. There are currently about a thousand apps and watch faces available for Pebble devices.
While a Pebble pales in comparison to newer smartwatches, like the Apple Watch or those running Android Wear, it does perform simple tasks. That simplicity of operation also helps to explain the often touted long battery life of the device. It can run for seven days on a single charge, the company claims.
Pebble smartwatches are capable of notifying you of new texts, emails, and incoming calls that you receive on your smartphone. They are compatible with Android and iOS devices. The watches sync to a smartphone via an app loaded onto the device.
Pebbles feature a black-and-white screen to deliver notifications, still there are clear limitations. No Pebble is capable of making or receiving phone calls like some of the current competition in the market. And you might never be able to edit documents or send emails and texts with these discounted devices.
Still there are functions that could aid any small business owner. The notification feature alone, for example, lets you know when it’s time to fish your smartphone from your pocket, handbag, or attache case. No more taking the device our every few minutes just to be sure you haven’t missed something.
The updates and price cuts come at a time when the smartwatch and smart wearable device market is getting more competitive. Major smartphone makers have all moved into the space, including companies like Sony, Apple, and Samsung.
But Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky insists his company’s move to drop prices is not a response to more entries into the market. Instead, he told TechCrunch, Pebble is merely continuing with its own strategy regardless of the initiatives of others.
Pebble was the first widely available smartwatch. A 2012 Kickstarter campaign raised a then-record $10 million to launch the device. The smartwatch was finally made available in 2013. But by the end of the year, other companies had already begun offering their own versions of the smartwatch too.