The Race to Smartwatch Supremacy
It’s still unclear whether smartwatches will become an industry mainstay. The wearables craze is young, and we just haven’t seen a high enough adoption rate to call this “the next big thing.” However, that isn’t stopping major industry players from throwing their own unique watches into the ring, and one of the original innovators, Pebble, is taking notice.
Pebble, which Kickstarted one of the first smartwatches two years ago, is dropping the price of its original watch by fifty dollars and the Pebble Steel by thirty dollars. This is all in an attempt to make the technology more appealing and accessible to a wider audience.
But Pebble isn’t simply dropping its price and expecting to pull ahead of its fresh competition. New activity and sleep-tracking features are also on the way, and while this will cut down on the much heralded battery life by about half a day, both applications can run in the background.
Google and Apple are each entering the smartwatch race, so it only makes sense for Pebble to step up its game in an attempt to maintain relevance.
Smartwatches running on Android Wear can connect to Google’s vast ecosystem of apps, letting you call a car with Lyft or access your favorite social media app. These pieces of tech are often reasonably priced, but Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky argues that Google’s approach is a “very narrow interpretation of what a watch can do.”
Apple is looking to stand out by providing a high-quality, all-in-one option. The iWatch will be a music player, a fitness tracker, a communications device that can send and receive messages, and a portal for popular apps.
However, Migicovsky claims that Pebble’s price drop and expanded features have little to do with the new competition.
“We’ve been planning this price drop for the last couple months now, so we haven’t adjusted strategy crazily or anything like that,” he told TechCrunch. “But obviously we’re not ignoring the fact that the largest consumer electronics company has just come into our market. I think it’s an incredible validation of the space.”
It would be a mistake to ignore Apple or Google, but what all this smartwatch hubbub really proves is that Pebble sparked something big with its original idea. Where it goes from here—and whether the watches are appealing enough for you to drop a few hundred dollars—is up to the three big companies leading the charge.