Here’s good news for owners of the Pebble, the original smartwatch, who also have an Android device. Now your watch can take advantage of apps that support Google’s Android Wear platform, in addition to those within Pebble’s own app store.
Pebble first added this support back in December, but it was limited to beta testers at the time. Now anyone can take advantage of the tie-in. For example, TechCrunch’s Romain Dillet last year bemoaned the fact that his Pebble didn’t support the “nifty” Capitaine Train ticket booking app, but now it does thanks to today’s update.
Pebble’s integration actually supports a wider selection of Android devices than Android Wear itself — Android 4.0 versus Android 4.3 — but the company still faces a huge task to stay relevant in a rapidly competitive space. Indeed, a recent Canalys report noted that Android Wear utterly dominated the 720,000 smartwatches that were estimated to have shipped last year.
The analyst firm did say that Pebble’s focus on apps and competitive pricing (lower than the rest) has kept it relevant but, with the Apple Watch due to arrival in April and new Android Wear products like the LG Watch Urbane on their way, Pebble faces an ever-increasing challenge.
No doubt Apple’s entry into the segment will greatly raise awareness of smartwatches among less-tech savy consumers — as many have predicted — but that even the iPhone-maker is said to be struggling to find a ‘killer app’ for its smartwatch indicates the difficulty of making a device that appeals to consumers. Apple can shift product off the back of its brand alone, but things are tougher for smaller, indie companies like Pebble.
Hat tip Venturebeat