The Pebble used to be arguably the best smartwatch in the game, and if your primary concern is battery life or you want a ton of apps to play with right now, then it's still your best bet. But the competition has upped its game, and the black and white display of the Pebble Steel looks like a hard sell next to the colorful, circular one of the Moto 360.
The Pebble team is continuing to pump life into their monochromatic smartwatch, and it's now rolling out an update that toggles on a few new features. Version 2.5 of the Pebble firmware brings support for emoji, enables compass functionality, and introduces iOS 8 compatibility (one of the items on this change log impacts us less than the others). Just like the previous updates, you get the goods by firing up the Android app and making sure it's paired with your watch.
Smartwatches aren't good at a number of things, but one area where they really shine is the delivery of notifications: email, texts, you name it. Now ESPN has launched a Pebble app that adds another type of information to peoples' wrists - sports scores. This way fans and fanatics alike can keep up with the action without having to bother whipping out their phones and hunting for the app. Instead they can look down at their watches and explain to confused onlookers why they're suddenly cheering.
Long before Android Wear first appeared and made the Pebble's black and white display look relatively antiquated, the latter's physical design already left plenty of room for improvement. The newer $250 Pebble Steel spiced things up quite a bit, but until now, the original $150 plastic model has remained untouched. Well today the company has announced three limited edition colors to breathe fresh, new life into its intelligent wristwatch.
These three new shades - Fly Blue, Fresh Green, and Hot Pink - stand in sharp contrast to the pre-existing black, gray, orange, red, and white options.
If you've been on the Internet for the last month, you've probably heard of LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign, which appealed directly to parents to bring the beloved reading-focused kid's program to the web. The campaign has just under six hours left, and at $5.1 million pledged, Burton & co. now have the resources available to meet their goal of bringing the upcoming experience to Android, as well as game consoles and set-top boxes.
Pebble fans have been faithfully following each step of the breakout smartwatch since it set almost every Kickstarter record ever. While most of the big news has died down, that doesn't mean the development team is on a break. To speed up the process of getting new features and bug fixes out to eager users, Pebble is opening up an official beta channel through the Play Store. These betas are technically for the Pebble companion app, but since the app also installs firmware updates on the watch, it's likely that you'll be able to get in on all of the new features.
The Pebble's software updates keep it slow and steady. Today's 2.2 firmware release doesn't rock the boat, but it introduces a few features that I'm sure fellow Pebble owners out there have wished for at some point or another. The first of which is the ability to reorder items in the launcher menu. Now if you hold the select button on an item in the menu, you can drop it somewhere else in the column.
Yesterday Pebble-wearing Android users gained the ability to control Pandora from their wrists. This was cool stuff for Pandora listeners, but now the brainy watch is getting an update that will affect all owners, regardless of their listening preferences. A 2.1 firmware upgrade is rolling out to devices via the Android companion app.
On the user-facing side, there's one standout new feature - the watch now has a menu entry for clearing your notification history.
Until Android Wear comes to consumers, Pebble is going to continue to have the most robust app ecosystem of any wearable device. Music Boss is a particularly impressive app for the Pebble. It connects to your phone to control music playback with the Pebble's built-in buttons. The most recent update streamlines the process a bit by properly detecting what's going on with the phone.
Music Boss is a robust way to control playback of various media apps via your Pebble or Pebble Steel smartwatch, and it was also one of the very first additions to the official Pebble app store. The tool is light-years ahead of the basic music player built into the Pebble, allowing users to launch and switch Android music apps, adjust volume, and integrate with more esoteric apps like Tasker.