Following last week's big update, the Pebble smartwatch now has a centralized app store where Android users can find nifty content for their monochromatic watch. What next? The team is kicking off the Pebble App Challenge, offering up $5,000 to the app developer who finishes first and a Pebble Steel for each of the top 16 finalists. Users get new apps, some developers get nice stuff, and we the public get to watch the action firsthand.
For Pebble owners, getting good apps and watchfaces has been akin to settling down in the Wild West. There are a handful of websites that do a good job of organizing content and making it easy to install via QR codes, and there's no way we can overlook the immensely useful Pebble apps app available in the Play Store, but these made things no less exciting when, back at this year's CES, the Pebble folks announced that a centralized app store was finally on its way.
Update: Since this post was published, Pebble has introduced a beta appstore for Android through their developer blog. Pebble encourages interested users to "help us finalize the Android app and ship it to everyone very quickly" by using the beta release and reporting any bugs. The beta release is certainly not without its issues, but interested parties can download it here.
Since Pebble first became available to the masses, finding good apps and watchfaces for the device has been sort of a hit-and-miss experience.
The Pebble is a humble smartwatch, and this is one of its biggest strengths. It doesn't have a color screen, it can hardly do anything without being paired to a phone, and the functions it supports out of the box are very limited. But the device has the support of a large community, and this greatly expands its usefulness for people who want to do more with their $149 purchase. AutoPebble is one of the more complex apps to hit the platform, as it pretty much does for Pebble what Tasker does for Android.
Smartwatch fans now have a new Pebble to drool over: the Pebble Steel. This is functionally identical to the original pebble, but it's smaller, thinner, and of course comes in a steel wrapper. This new model of the Pebble comes in black or silver colors and demands a $100 premium over the standard plastic model, retailing for an impressive $249.
Pebble Steel comes with a matching metal band and a bonus leather band, custom made for the unique head (which may not work with interchangeable watch bands).
We've seen more than a few smartwatches in the last year or so, and for my money, the Pebble is still the only one that's worthy of serious consideration. If you're of the same mind, you can pick one up for thirty dollars off the asking price at Amazon and Best Buy right now. Both merchants are selling the Pebble smartwatch for $119.99.
If you're currently enrolled in a college or university (or you, ahem, have some other access to a .edu email address), Best Buy is also offering an additional $30 discount for students.
Best Buy has a handful of deals targeted at college students that are bound to put a smile on a smartphone enthusiast's face, even if none of them actually help anyone with their education. Some of these offers preserve more money than others, with the Chromecast's $29.99 sales price saving customers only $5 bucks. On the other hand, or should I say - wrist, Best Buy is cutting $30 off the price of the Pebble smartwatch.
You gotta love it when a community of developers congregates around some exciting hardware. That's certainly what's happened with the Pebble smartwatch: it's been getting steadily more capable ever since its release, thanks in no small part to Android and watch app developers. We've seen apps link the Pebble and the popular automaton engine Tasker before, but PebbleTasker (catchy!) does it better than anything else so far.
This go-between app will install a companion app on the Pebble and allow you to assign any three tasks you want to the top, select, and bottom buttons on the right edge of the watch.
One of Kickstarter's greatest success stories is coming to AT&T in just a few days. AT&T has announced it will be the exclusive carrier partner for the Pebble smart watch, which should provide a nice budget-friendly alternative to the upcoming Galaxy Gear.
This won't be an exclusive version of the Pebble for AT&T. It's the same device you can get from Best Buy, but AT&T is offering you the opportunity to get one when you pick up a phone.