Pebble Unveils Next-Generation Pebble Steel Smartwatch, Hands-on For $249 [VIDEO]

At CES 2014, Pebble is kicking off with its next-gen smartwatch, the “Pebble Steel” – a grwing version of the original one, which features a stainless steel body with a leather or steel band and face covered with the ultra durable and scratch resistant Gorilla Glass using in Apple’s own products.

All-in-all this Pebble Steel Smartwatch is awesome. Announced with all new design, more durable than ever before and considering the official and first Pebble Smartwatch was arguably the best in its kind, and prompted an unprecedented response on Kickstarter when its campaign began in 2012.

BdUZXGWCYAAdN-5Launched as the first model, Pebble is back agin with a vastly different version, the Pebble Steel, comprised of steel and looking pretty much like typical wrist watch. At $249, the new smartwatch is as jsut been unveiled at this year’s CES 2014 trade show. With dedication app store in the works allowing users to better find content for their wrist computer gadget, it’s clear that Pebble intends to step things up considerably.

Along with a leather band, the Pebble Steel features smaller side and top bezels for a slimmer, lighter profile. The Pebble Steel weighs 45 grams, two grams less than the original Pebble. With Samsung and Sony having already released their own smartwatch efforts and the likes of Apple and Google also said to be considering something similar.

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Despite early success, feding off the power of Apple, Google, Samsung and Sony perhaps even Microsoft is looking forward to tune up to be difficult in every since the word for Pebble. With comparitively meager funds available for advertising, research, development and manufacturing, coming through with a new model so quicker is a fairly impressive achievement.

This new Pebble Steel aims to tempt those in the market for being higher build quality than what we’ve seen before from the smartwatch community as a whole. Pebble is looking to entice the fashion-conscious with this clearly more eye-catching version.

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According to Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, who spoke to CNET, the Pebble Steel is designed to be a more formal version of the original Pebble.

“CEO Eric Migicovsky describes Steel as a more formal version of Pebble: “I’m going out for dinner, I’m wearing a suit, I’ve got a position that doesn’t allow me to wear a plastic watch on my wrist. How do I benefit from a smartwatch? How do I get notifications and run all the apps that Pebble offers without having to put something that I don’t prefer on my wrist. We took that as an industrial design problem. It wasn’t really a software problem…We just had to build an aesthetically different Pebble.”

Important to note: The Pebble Steel also has an LED indicator for showing battery charge and for $249, it looks a fairly sweet deal, being waterproof like the original, you can still use it essentially wherever you go. With two different color configurations of the new Pebble Steel – a brushed, altogether more raw stainless steel finish it looks great and with the watches ship with steel and leather straps to suit your addictive needs.

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Volla! You’ll still get your 5-7 days of battery life, with the only downside being that your paired iPhone and Android device will only be able to survive for a fraction of time. Finally, the Pebble Steel specs sports similar to what the original Pebble Smartwatch, but is packed in more premium body.

About the Pebble App Store, caught back in 2013, which Pebble is looking to create a dedicated vault for Pebble smartwatch users in Google Play and Apple’s App Store fashion. With apps like Yelp, ESPN, GoPro, official Mercedes app, Pandora and Foursquare having already been announced.

The new app store will be officially available to every user by the end of January, and apps will work on both the new Pebble Steel and the original Pebble Smartwatch. Not only applications for Pebble Steel or the original smartwatch, Pebble is getting, games as well, tossed into the roaster.

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Version 2.0 of the Pebble Smartwatch software will be also available at launch, which will bring forward a bunch of noticeable performance and speed improvements, including a Notification Center.

Now, the new Pebble Steel will start debuting (shipping) on January 28th, and will be available to pre-order right away from getpebble.com. Free worldwide shipping is being offered to those who order first.

The company is also partnering with new companies to introduce a playback control app for Pandora, ESPN sports stats and box scores, and a car stats monitoring app from Mercedes. Shipping on January 28 for $249, a $100 premium over the existing Pebble watch. Pre-orders can be placed today on the Pebble website.