Pebble’s Steel Facelift Wants To Make Smartwatches Cool [CES 2014]

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CES 2014 bug LAS VEGAS — Not to be confused with “Blue Steel” from Zoolander, the Pebble smartwatch brand is branching out into the more premium, classic world of timepieces with Pebble Steel.

Announced today at CES, Pebble’s new watch has the same OS current owners know, but the physical materials have been upgraded from plastic to CNC-machined stainless steel. With a new developer SDK and its own app store on the near horizon, Pebble is leading the smartwatch race. But does it have what it takes to make the smartwatch cool?

Pebble Steel is available in two finishes, Brushed Stainless and Black Matte. Each comes with matching metal and leather straps. An LED light indicates battery life, and Pebble is promising that one charge will still last a week. The display is coated with Corning Gorilla Glass, and the watch is waterproof like the original Pebble, which means no having to take it off in the shower.

It looks pretty nice, but individual users will have to be the judge of quality. If you’re used to watches that cost thousands of dollars, the Steel will probably feel cheap. As an upgrade from the plastic Pebble that’s already out, it certainly looks promising.

Hardware is nice, but if the software isn’t up to par, then there’s no point. That’s why Pebble is gearing up to release its app store to users later this month. Big-name partners are piling onto the platform left and right. ESPN has an app coming out for checking sports scores, and Pandora will let you control music playing from your phone.

Preorders for the Pebble Steel are open today at $249 with shipping starting January 28th. The price is $100 more than the current Pebble, which is still available. But hey, you can’t put a price on cool, right?

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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