The Pebble Steel is as the name might have hinted at, a fully metal smartwatch. The original Pebble was made of low-grade plastic and had a removable rubber strap, this time the Pebble Steel comes with a range of straps and a stainless steel watch face.
Pebble Steel changes are all cosmetic, Pebble has not redesigned their interface or added their apps store just yet and the screen is still E-Ink and not LCD. The advantages of E-Ink are on the battery life, but it has no color and lags behind in responsiveness compared to an LCD.
The Pebble Steel is going up against the Galaxy Gear on design, but since the original Pebble is still beating the Galaxy Gear on sales and user enjoyment, we can safely say the Pebble Steel has won the battle, it is even cheaper than the Galaxy Gear, at $249.
Pebble has gained a lot of recognition with the Kickstarter, setting the smartwatch company up with 60,000 early buyers. Since then, the smartwatch has sold over 300,000 units worldwide, better than analyst predictions on the Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch 2.
The big feature coming in 2014 is the Pebble app store, allowing third party developers to create applications specifically for the smartwatch. The apps will be able to work on both the Pebble platform and iOS/Android, but will not be able to make revenue on the smartwatch side.
We can see a lot of fitness, location and navigation apps wanting to get on the Pebble bandwagon, especially after the news of 300,000 device sales. It is a little early to say, but the Pebble Steel feels like a 1.5 upgrade, we are hoping to see Pebble come with a redesigned cheaper plastic version, alongside the Pebble Steel.