While still very new, there's little arguing that the smartwatch industry is heating up. And for current and future owners of the Pebble smartwatch, there's a handful of news today.
First, the company is lowering its prices. The standard Pebble smartwatch -- which previously cost $150 -- will now be available for just $99. The price on the Pebble Steel version is dropping from $250 to $199.
"We recognize that there are a lot more competitors today than we launched [in 2012]," founder Eric Migicovsky says. "We simply want to make Pebble more accessible to more people."
You don't say? Perhaps that's why the company is also expanding its retail footprint from 2,000 stores to 10,000 stores worldwide. Pebble smartwatches have been available in U.S. stores like Best Buy, Target and Sam's Club. Over the next few weeks, Pebble watches will begin rolling out to to stores in the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the globe.
That's not all. The company is making a bigger push for health and fitness enthusiasts. Over the last several months, Pebble's tech team has been working with partners to offer a new collection of activity-tracking apps that can operate in the background. In other words, a Pebble can display a watch face while also tracking, say, your sleep or how many strokes you take while swimming via an app that syncs with your phone and can operate around the clock.
The first wave of activity-tracking app-partners include Misfit, Jawbone and Swim.com.
"Pebble wasn't always an activity tracker, by nature," Migicovsky says. "But it makes sense. It's a smart sensor on your wrist that can gather information 24/7."
In addition to its 5 ATM water resistance rating (yes, you can swim while wearing a Pebble), one of the smartwatch's selling points has been its battery life, requiring a charge once every five to seven days. (Other watches, like the Moto 360, require charging once a day.) Having an app like Misfit for Pebble running in the background could drain a half day's-worth of battery charge, on average, over that time period, Migicovsky says.
"We put a lot of thought into this and consider things people have come to expect from Pebble, like long battery life," Migicovsky says. Pebble will release a software update to enable these new activity-tracking features, he says.