Among its critics, one of the biggest complaints against the Pebble smartwatch as always been its design. The first iteration of the Pebble was built using polycarbonates for the body, plastics that scratched extremely easy for the face, and a band that made Timex watches look fashionable. Put simply, the now low-end model of the Pebble didn’t sport the best of designs.
Monday at CES in Las Vegas, Pebble unveiled a secret it’s been hiding for several months now: the Pebble Steel. The new Steel brings metal to the Pebble build – it’ll come in brushed stainless steel and matte black color variations. The face of the Steel is also built with Corning Gorilla Glass, which should alleviate some of the scratching issues that were plentiful among consumers of the first Pebble. It’s packed full of most of the features that made the first Pebble popular, as well. 5-7 days of battery life, waterproof sealing, and a crisp e-paper display. The Steel, however, adds an RGB indication light to notify the user of charging status, and it will use a new charger. Pebble says a new charger was necessary because of some of the design changes.
Each Steel watch will ship with two watch bands in the box – a leather band along with a metal band that matches the color of the watch you’ve chosen. This time around, you won’t be able to stick any watch band on your Pebble; the company says standard bands are no longer compatible, but Pebble will release the specifications to third-party manufacturers who are interested in building bands for the watch.
The Pebble Steel will ship with Pebble OS 2.0 pre-installed, and users will be able to take advantage of the brand new Pebble App Store. According to Pebble CEO, more than 6,000 developers have already submitted apps, and there are more coming in daily. Some mainstream apps available at launch include ESPN, Pandora, Yelp, and FourSquare.
The Pebble Steel will begin shipping on January 28th, but you can pre-order one today from the company’s website. The Steel costs $100 more than the original Pebble at $249, but the extra money is definitely worth it, considering the boost in quality. Going from plastic to metal is always a welcome change.