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The company takes a bold step with an exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy
Think watches are a thing of the past? Think again. Pebble, the e-ink smartwatch that remains the most successful Kickstarter project ever, is now coming to Best Buy and people are effing excited.
Pebble announced Tuesday that its smartwatches will be on Best Buy shelves on July 7 and will retail for $149.99. The jet black watches will be available first, followed by the Cherry Red version in August. Pebble’s three other colors—Orange, Grey, and Arctic White—are available for pre-order on the site.
The Pebble Kickstarter project raised $10.3 million from nearly 70,000 backers last year (its goal was $100,000) as consumers rallied their dollars together for the waterproof, app-enabled smartwatch that connects to iPhones and Android devices via Bluetooth.
"It's been so rewarding to see and share the great things our early backers and development partners have done with Pebble already," said Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, in a statement. "Their work and our evolving app ecosystem has kept demand very high. Best Buy's partnership with us is a big step towards meeting that demand."
The watch connects with a user’s mobile devices to display notifications such as incoming calls, text messages, and emails. The watch also comes with remote control features for music and other media playing from a phone. Additionally, Pebble-specific apps allow users to turn their smartwatch into a running or cycling GPS device to collect data such as pace and distance, or take their Pebble onto the golf course to get data on distance and so on.
Users can also customize their watchface and select which notifications to get, including SMS or iMessages, email, calls, calendar alerts, Facebook messages, Twitter, weather alerts, vibrating alarms and timers, and more.
Pebble is taking the bold step of being the first mover in the smartwatch game—and it’s going to come up against some pretty stiff competition. Apple, Samsung, and Google are said to be working on smartwatches of their own.
Apple is said to have 100 product designers working on the device, which is expected to be released as early as the end of this year. The device will reportedly be able to make calls, check caller ID, track health and fitness metrics like steps taken and calories burned, and display map coordinates. In the last month, Apple has trademarked the term “iWatch” in Taiwan, Russia, Mexico, and Japan.
While some have expressed doubt as to whether or not consumers would actually buy a smartwatch (because who wears a watch anymore? Old guys? Dressed up dogs on YouTube?), the average smartphone owner checks her phone 150 times a day, so the benefits of being able to get notifications that you can see without digging out your phone are clear.
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