The Pebble Steel Smartwatch was just announced at CES 2014. Sporting the some old e-paper display, a small ROM bump from 4MB to 8MB, and a dated looking steel case and band, there doesn’t seem to be much justifying the price bump to $249. On a positive note for app developers, since the internals remain unchanged in the Pebble Steel, everything you coded for the original Pebble smartwatch will work on the new model.
Pebble’s announcement of the new Steel smartwatch at CES was somewhat unexpected. When questioned in October regarding the development of new hardware, Pebble CEO, Eric Migicovsky, dismissed the notion stating, “What we’re focused on right now is software … our job now, almost exclusively as a company, is to move the software forward.” Apparently, that wasn’t entirely accurate.
The addition of a new model will give early smartwatch adopters more of a choice … which is always a good thing. However, we do find ourselves a bit disappointed by the lack of upgraded internals besides the slight increase in RAM. With the multitude of highly spec’d and innovatively designed smartwatches poised to hit the market during the first quarter of this year, we think Migicovsky might end up regretting the decision to push out a lackluster upgrade to the original Pebble. The sporty plastic version may not have been the first smartwatch to market, but it was the first smartwatch to capture the market and ignite the wearable tech frenzy we currently enjoy. Pebble is the leader of the pack, right now, and it is their game to lose. And, while the disappointing revision will not necessarily cost them the game, we don’t see it helping the fledgling tech company’s long-term goal. For Pebble to stay on top, they will need to continue displaying one thing we find conspicuously absent in the new Pebble Steel … innovation. We know they’ve got it, we just want to see more of it.
Pebble Steel Smartwatch: [Company Website]