I still think back to the original Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble smartwatch, and realize that potential isn't gone. People want wearable technology, especially in the form of a watch, and they're willing to throw their money at an idea that seems like a good one. This isn't unheard of, mind you. Consumers tend to throw their money at things they want, and obviously something like the Pebble -- or maybe just the Pebble itself -- is something that consumers want.
It's been a year since the original Pebble took over CES back in 2013. The Consumer Electronics Show always has a lot of different gadgets, ideas, concepts and everything in between, but the smartwatch from Pebble was the darling of the show. Everyone wanted to get their hands on it, and the excitement level increased tenfold when Pebble announced their piece of wearable technology would be shipping later that month. Finally.
Now that it's been a year, and now that CES 2014 has officially started in Las Vegas, Nevada, it's no surprise that Pebble would want to try and steal the show again with another announcement. Can lightning strike the same place twice? It's a tired cliche, sure, but one that's fitting for a company that saw plenty of scrutiny for its product's availability (both from the website, and in physical stores), but sustained presence in the market. Could Pebble manage to rake in all the attention yet again?
They've certainly grabbed mine.
There are quite a few options on the market for someone who is looking to get their hands on a "smart" watch. It may not seem like it, but there are. They range in size, design, and features. Some are pretty basic in their functionality, just giving you a small notification of sound or vibration when your phone tell is to. While others, like Pebble, give you a full display to see what type of notification, or even read the text of an email or other message. You can find something to fit your needs, if you're willing to look -- and spend the money.
Pebble's managed to stay in the limelight because it has plenty of functionality, but also because of the relatively small price tag that comes along with it. For $149 you get a watch that comes in plenty of colors right out of the box, but also a smartwatch you can change the bands on, for easy customization. A standard feature for watches in general, but one that seems relatively non-existent in the smartwatch category.
The Pebble is simple in its design, but thanks to the ability to customize it, that's not at all a bad thing. There's obviously room to grow, though, and Pebble has shown they're willing to expand the idea of their smartwatch's design aesthetic with their newly announced Pebble Steel.
I was honestly expecting Pebble to follow the yearly refresh ideal that so many other companies have, and give us a "Pebble 2" at some point this year. CES 2014 would have been a great time for it, considering, but that's not what happened. Instead, they added to their family of devices -- or created a family, is probably the better way to look at it. They've made it so that the original Pebble is now the "entry-level" smartwatch, and perched their Pebble Steel in their new "premium" level.
This is better than issuing an updated Pebble, and leaving all those consumers who just picked up the smartwatch over the holiday shopping season out in the cold. For a lot of people, owning both members of the Pebble family could make sense, especially considering the price tag of Pebble Steel is still less than some other smartwatches out there. For a relatively small amount, you get plenty in the package.
I'm no longer waiting or a Pebble 2. The Pebble Steel has officially stolen my attention, and now I can't wait for the device to ship. My question to you, though, is: Did you order a Pebble Steel? If you're skipping it, why aren't you pulling the trigger on Pebble's newest smartwatch? Let me know!