Given the recent buzz around consumer smartwatches, its easy to forget that Pebble has been around for two and a half years, starting from a knockout Kickstarter campaign, and transitioning into one of the leading smartwatch makers in the field. Pebble is now faced with increasing need to stick out as the early smarwatch leader, as the consumer wearables space gets more competitive with just about every major tech company having their own wearable of some sort.
To celebrate their most recent anniversary, Pebble has dropped the price by $50 of both the Pebble Steel ($200) and the original Pebble ($100), as well as announced the releases of new 24-hour activity monitoring apps from Misfit, Jawbone, and Swim.com. While many wearables are still seen as niche devices, a lower price point could convert those wary consumers who are unsure about dropping a few hundred dollars on something that they might just see as an accessory to their phone. Increased competition from Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch likely also forced Pebble to make the strategic move to drop their prices and add features to be the “real watch made by real people,” as opposed to Apple’s typical move of going for the more premium end of the market. Pebble’s rebranded site shows their intent of differentiating themselves from Apple’s smartwatch efforts.
This newest addition to the Pebble system allows wearers constant fitness and sleep tracking in the background, making the smartwatch truly an all-in-one device. With this addition, Pebble will be able to track fitness while offline, and even store 140 days worth of data without syncing. This new feature is best shown in the integration with apps from Misfit, Jawbone, and swim.com. While the Misfit app for Pebble has been around for a few months since mid-June, never before has been able to run in the background, completely changing the dynamic of the Pebble watch as a fitness band killer. The swim.com will make full use of Pebbles’ 5 ATM water resistance, allowing wearers to track their swimming activity, everything from distance and pace, to strokes and the efficiency of those strokes.
Pebble’s experience in the field has made it one of the most critically and commercially loved smartwatches out in the market, and these changes to its watches could be the push it needs to stay in the limelight. 2015 will most likely push wearables in either direction, and if Pebble continues on its current path, it might just make it out the other side.