Pebble is today announcing an upgrade to its fitness tracking features initially launched earlier this year. The Pebble and Pebble Steel will now be able to track a wearer's steps and sleep activity in the background, letting users count their steps and use any watch face they please. Prior to this, a Pebble wearer had to keep the Misfit app open the entire time to count their steps. Additionally, Pebble is officially dropping the price of its watches to $99 for the standard watch and $199 for the Pebble Steel, a drop of $50 and $30, respectively, from their earlier prices.
To go along with the expanded fitness tracking capabilities, Pebble is extending its partnerships to include Jawbone and Swim.com, in addition to its existing partnership with Misfit. Jawbone and Swim.com now have apps available for the Pebble watch which will sync activity and sleep data to their respective services. Misfit's existing app is being upgraded to provide sleep tracking in addition to basic activity tracking. Pebble is also opening its activity tracking features to other developers through its API. Pebble says that the new, always on activity tracking won't meaningfully affect battery life on the device and it still expects users to get between five and seven days between charges.
Pebble is also greatly expanding its retail presence today, launching in retails stores across the world. In addition to Target, Best Buy, and Amazon in the US, the Pebble watches will soon be available in Fry's, Sam's Club, and Sprint stores. In October, customers in the UK will be able to get the Pebble at Dixons, O2, and Amazon. Pebble will also be available across Scandinavia as well as Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
It won't be long before fitness trackers and smartwatches are the same thing
With its price drop and expanded fitness tracking features, Pebble is opening itself up to many more people than might have considered a smartwatch before. Though other platforms, such as Google's Android Wear and Apple's forthcoming Watch, promise to do many more things on your wrist, Pebble is sticking to its mission of doing a few things and doing them well. It won't be long before fitness trackers and smartwatches are one and the same (and we're already seeing some fitness trackers adopt smartwatch features) and Pebble's announcements today make it one of the most compelling options if you want a smartwatch that also does fitness tracking right now.