Pebble Watch Price Drop Isn’t Due to Competition, Company Says





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.

Image: Pebble

11 Comments ▼

Joshua Sophy


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Assistant Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, Joshua got his start in the rough and tumble newspaper business of Pennsylvania's coal region. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a beat reporter covering daily news. He eventually founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown. Joshua supervises the day-to-day operations of Small Business Trends' busy editorial department including the editorial calendar and outgoing assignments.

11 Reactions

  1. I like the idea that the price has dropped, but I do struggle with the reason behind it. With more competition stepping up to bat, it’s hard to argue that Pebble would be worth more when newer smartwatches do so much more. While I understand why they would want to make a point to say it’s not because of competition, I can’t say I believe them either. Nonetheless, I hope it works out for them!

  2. While the Pebbles have neither a camera, mic, or speaker, they can dial/answer/reject calls on your phone and send canned text responses with available apps like Pebble Dialer and wristponder. It works very well and actually keeps time unlike my original Galaxy Gear.

  3. Aira Bongco

    It is because the design does not appeal to its market as much as it used to be. While it looks unique, the beauty or novelty of it can expire through time.

  4. I have had mine a week now, and I’m a fan. It serves all the basic functions I need; multiple watch faces, phone data/remote control, text data, sports, Pandora remote control, and has an retro look like an old Timex or Casio Tech version. I was waiting for the FitBit Force reissue, but for $99 I bought the Pebble it on a whim, and it was by far the best choice for the money. I still want a Apple Watch, but now I’m inclined to wait it out until the version 2 release, and by then Pebble will have a updated competitor with a value price. Well Done, Pebble!

  5. No one mentioned the fact that the Pebble Steel used to come with a leather and a steel band included.
    Now you only get a leather band, you have to pay $20.00 extra for the steel band, that makes the price drop only worth $10.00 for the Pebble Steel.

  6. I think a lot of people are missing the point of the Pebble watch vs the Apple iwatch. “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.” Let me ask you this? Would you ever want to actually take a call with your watch, think about the arm angles and positioning needed the speaker or holding it backwards to your ear really? Also pebble does have abilities to send canned texts, emails ect. Who in there right mind would want to send documents or compose emails on a watch, the screen is tiny no matter how you cut it. Oh and thet “black and white” screen is an intentially functionality feature called “Epaper” to allow users to see things in direct sunlight without the horrible glare. Oh and pebble has a 7 day battery life less if you go crazy but still that really good. Apple did not devulge their battery life. Bottom line Pebble is that timeless tool that doesn’t need much more innovation. Maybe go thinner and move some stand-alone functionality to the watch might add value. I hope pebble holds true to their strong compass of real a world approach in making a product that just works! Consequently I don’t think pebble is lowering prices to compete. I have folloed pebble and apple for along time. I have seen both products presentations and as you may have guessed own a pebble. I don’t just like a product because I own it. I like to weight the options. Apple has some really neat innovations on their watch like a hr moniter and the dial Is sick, I just think it’s overkill for such a small platform. My two cents ☺️

  7. I find the price cut interesting. Pebble offered the original Pebble watch on Black Friday for $79.99. I guess that was in line with Black Friday offerings by others. I doubt that they would come out and say that they dropped the price because of competitive pressures. I mean what would expect them to say? If they had some sort of windfall on production costs because of their volumes, etc., I believe that they would have said so. Who knows. It would seem, however, that notwithstanding the rhetoric they have decided they will compete on price rather than innovation or customer service. Good luck on that one. There are a whole bunch of guys who can seriously outspend them if they want to put Pebble out of business. I guess they don’t for now. Let’s see if this Samson can defeat their Goliaths!

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