By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 01/08/2014
I'm a big fan of the Pebble SmartWatch as one of the early backers on Kickstarter. So I was anxious to see their announcement at CES yesterday. But frankly, it was a letdown. As I mentioned, I like my Pebble. I wear it almost everyday and appreciate that I can get text messages and caller ID on it. I appreciate the magnetic charging capability and the fact that the battery lasts about a week.
So when they announced the $249 Pebble Steel at $100 more than the original Pebble, I wondered what new features we could look forward to. After all, while the original watch is nice, there is still room for improvement. The Pebble display could be brighter, perhaps in color, or even offer a touchscreen as others like the Qualcomm Toq and i'mWatch do. There could be a Bluetooth speakerphone and a Siri button, like my Martian Watch offers. The charging mechanism could use induction charging so you could just place it on a pad.
Instead, for $100 more, you get both a steel band and a leather band, the case is slightly different and the buttons are a little more responsive. The magnetic charger is a little different but without an apparent benefit. It just means your old charger won't work with it and vice versa.
So, I'm disappointed. At the same time that Pebble went upscale, Martian Watches went downscale, from $250 down to $129 with their new Notifier watch. It forgoes the speakerphone capability but maintains the OLED display for text messages, Caller ID, and notifications, while using an analog display to tell time.
More competition is good, and the result should be more powerful, fashionable and affordable SmartWatches. And Apple hasn't even entered the market yet!