Pebble Steps Up Smartwatch Game

Pebble adds Foursquare, Yelp, other apps to smartwatch, expands notifications for iPhones.
8 Wearable Tech Devices To Watch
8 Wearable Tech Devices To Watch
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Pebble knows competitors are ready to bring more smartwatches to the market and it isn't standing still. The company announced a significant update to its smartwatch this week and is offering developers a new SDK for creating even more powerful apps.

According to Pebble, it has shipped about 190,000 Pebble watches worldwide since its debut early this year. There are about 2,200 applications and watch faces available for download. Pebble owners have downloaded and installed them 2 million times, which averages to about 10 per watch. There are more than 50 companion apps available for Android and iOS devices, and more than 10,000 developers have registered with Pebble to create smartwatch apps. Pebble has some great momentum headed into the holiday season, and just made its device a whole lot better.

For starters, Pebble now works seamlessly with the Notification Center in iOS 7. The watch was already able to deliver call, text, and email notifications before. Now, it can offer notifications from any app that's enabled in Notification Center. According to Pebble, this includes notifications from the calendar, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, Dropbox, Flipboard, WhatsApp and many other apps. This is a significant improvement that makes the Pebble smartwatch more useful.

In order to control these notifications, iOS 7 device owners will need to download the new iOS companion app for Pebble. According to Pebble, the app is currently under review in the iTunes App Store and should be available shortly. Pebble didn't say when similar functionality might reach Android devices, but it is on the way.

In addition to the new features for iOS devices, Pebble introduced the Pebble SDK 2.0. The updated software developer kit provides far more hooks for developers and should expand the type of apps that can run on the Pebble smartwatch.

The SDK includes four new APIs, including Javascript, Accelerometer, Data Logging and Persistent Storage. According to Pebble, the APIs will lead to apps that can talk directly to the Internet to pull down data such as weather and traffic. Developers will have new access to the accelerometer for gesture-based controls and health/fitness apps. The Persistent Storage and Data Logging APIs mean Pebble users will be able to log workout and other data even when there's no phone nearby, as well as store settings, scores and other data locally. Pebble says that companies such as iControl, Foursquare, GoPro, and Yelp are already working on apps with the new SDK.

The Pebble smartwatch is available directly from Pebble or from Best Buy. It costs $150. Right now, it is competing against the Sony SmartWatch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Apple is expected to debut its own version of a smartwatch at some point next year.

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