A year after Pebble revealed their first smartwatch, simply called the Pebble, the company released the Pebble Steel. The Steel featured some small internal upgrades and a steel case, along with leather and metal bands. When the Pebble Time was announced, some held off, waiting to see if there would be another steel version. They need to wait no more, the Pebble Time Steel was reavealed this week. During the same announcement, Pebble also revealed their plans for smart straps, watch bands that would add functionality to the Pebble, such as NFC, GPS, or heart rate monitoring. These won't be available at launch, but will become available at a later date. The two announcements show that Pebble will be more dedicated than ever to their smartwatches and their customers.
The Pebble Time Steel will share the same square shape of the Pebble Time, and will come in black, steel, and gold colors. However, it will feature a larger battery, and a battery life of 10 days. The entire frame will be steel, not just the bezel, as it is on the base model. Also, like the Pebble Steel that came before it, the Pebble Time Steel will also come with two watch straps, a metal one and a leather one. However, the Pebble Time Steel will be 1mm thicker than the Pebble Time. The Pebble Time Steel will be the flagship smartwatch for the company, and will cost more than the Pebble Time. Right now, you can back the kickstarter project for reduced prices. The Pebble Time is currently $179 (will retail for $199) and the Pebble Time Steel is $70 more, $249 now, and $299 once it goes on sale. That means it may cost just $50 less than the Apple Watch. Those who have already backed the project can also switch their backing to the Pebble Time Steel, if they'd rather upgrade.
Pebble also revealed new watch straps for both the Pebble Time and the Pebble Time Steel. These will be able to add functionality to the Pebble Time watches without needing to create larger, bulkier watches. The Pebble Time will be thinner than the Apple Watch, likely because it lacks features like a heart rate monitor and NFC. The smart watch straps will even be able to add battery life to the Pebble Time, which already has battery life that blows the competition out of the water. These straps will also be open to third party developers, who can create apps that work with them, or whatever they can imagine. No other smartwatch has anything like this. These straps will make the very hardware of the Pebble Time upgradeable.
The Pebble Time has already crushed Kickstarter records, becoming the highest earning project ever, and the fastest growing. The entire project was funded within an hour of the project taking backers. The original Pebble has become the most popular smartwatch, and was a highly successful Kickstarter campaign on its own. The Pebble Time makes that previous success look small and unimportant. It will have some serious competition this year, from Apple, Motorola, and many others, but the Pebble Time will be an improvement over the most popular smartwatch, and that alone may give it a lead over the competition. Has Pebble created a new smartwatch empire?