Pebble is finally getting around to creating an official app marketplace for software devs build for its platform. The Pebble Appstore, as it will be known, is going to debut sometime early next year according to the company, and it’ll be integrated directly into the existing iPhone and Android applications for the smartwatch.
Third-party app and watchface discovery tools have existed for Pebble basically since it became available, including MyPebbleFaces.com. Those will continue to exist, Pebble says, and will be able to distribute Pebble software just as before. At the same time, however, the company notes in a blog post today that “[for developers, the Pebble App Store is the best way to promote and distribute your Pebble applications to users.”
The new official Pebble app store doesn’t support paid apps at launch, though devs can obviously still charge for their companion apps on iOS and Android (and theoretically offer Pebble support as a paid upgrade via in-app purchase. Developers will be able to publish apps to the Pebble App Store via a web-based portal, which is completely free to use, and apps will be chosen as featured by the dev support team. There won’t be any advanced screening of apps published to the Pebble Appstore, but Pebble does reserve the right to take down any apps that violate its developer agreement.
At launch the Pebble Appstore will feature seven different categories for apps: Daily, Remotes, Games, Notifications, Tools & Utilities, Sports & Fitness and Watchfaces. These are a little different from what we’re used to seeing in mobile software marketplaces, of course, but that’s to be expected from a device that has been a pioneer in the wearable computing category, and which is essentially working without a model to build from.
Pebble only just revealed its 2.0 Software Development Kit, which adds a lot of functionality but also requires that 1.0 apps get updated before they can be compatible with the 2.0 firmware. The pre-announced storefront, along with the ambiguous consumer launch, is probably designed to give the Pebble team and its developer partners time to update the existing library and get a good crop of new apps available so that the Appstore isn’t a ghost town when it arrives.