The most important part about wearable tech, is making it wearable–both in comfort and in fashion. The second most important part is, of course, usability. Pebble is taking steps to address both the look and function of its watches by adding a higher end materials version and–yes, developers–its very own app store.
The app store is a welcome boon. Today, Pebble users have to use third-party sites and resources to add new functionality. By the end of January, Pebble will open a central web portal to find and download things like games, remotes, news and weather apps. This was the idea all along, of course–that developers would be able to fill in the missing pieces of software that Pebble couldn’t (or wouldn’t) build themselves. It appears to have taken longer to get the app store up and running than Pebble would have liked, but its still among the first of its kind.
Also on the docket: content deals. Pebble has partnered with ESPN, GoPro, Pandora, Mercedes-Benz, and more to provide functionality for their products on a person’s wrist. ESPN will provide a score box, GoPro will allow remote start and stop of recording, and Pandora will allow thumbs up or down in addition to play/pause. While it’s limited functionality that current Pebble devices enables through these partnerships, it’s still the right direction to bring more people on board for wearable tech awareness.
The other smartwatch manufacturer trying to bring its watches inline with mainstream fashion expectations is Metawatch with the new Meta. All the emphasis for Meta’s announcement is on the looks, with a redesigned watch by Frank Nuovo, who was previously with both Vertu and Nokia. Out of the box, Metawatch already highlights functions like stocks, weather, call controls, and more, but is limited to stock apps–no app store just yet.