updated 03:49 pm EST, Mon January 6, 2014
More costly option switches to metal, Gorilla Glass
Following this morning's news leak, Pebble has officially announced the Steel, a more luxury-oriented watch. Unlike the original plastic-based Pebble, the new one is made of metal. The e-ink display is now also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass, used on many smartphones and tablets.
Buyers will be able to choose between matte black or brushed stainless steel, and metal or leather straps. The Steel is due to ship January 28th for $249.
Coinciding with the introduction of the Steel is a new app store, supporting both the Steel and the original Pebble. The store is organized into six categories: Daily, Fitness, Remotes, Tools & Utilities, Notifications, and Games. The Notifications category is particularly significant, since developers will be able to push custom notifications directly from an app to a Pebble, bypassing iOS and Android's official notification frameworks. Plastic Pebble owners will need to download a v2.0 firmware update later this month to use the new apps.
The company has meanwhile signed partnerships with companies like ESPN, Yelp, GoPro, Foursquare, Pandora, iControl, and Mercedes-Benz. As an example, an upcoming Mercedes app will let people handle tasks like checking fuel, locating a car, or controlling media playback.