The Pebble smartwatch is gaining new health and fitness tracking capabilities, while its price is dropping to $99 from its former $150 price tag.
The upgrades, which also include new non-stop activity tracking and sleep monitoring, were unveiled by Pebble in a Sept. 30 post on the company's blog.
"When we launched Pebble two and a half years ago, our mission was simple: build the most enjoyable, customizable, and versatile smartwatch on the market at an accessible price," the post states. "The market has exploded since then, but our mission remains the same."
The new health and fitness capabilities will help bring the Pebble watch up to the demands of the smartwatch market, where such features are already integrated in watches from many competitors.
To add the new capabilities, Pebble updated its Misfit app to enable continuous, round-the-clock activity tracking and sleep monitoring, according to the company. "Jawbone is launching its own activity tracking watchface for Pebble called UP which shows daily and weekly activity progress and automatically syncs with its new UP app for iOS (and coming to Android soon)," the post continued. "Swim.com is the first watch app that allows users to measure distance, pace, times, strokes, and efficiency while swimming with their Pebble and automatically sync this data with their phone and the cloud when returning to the locker room."
The new fitness apps, and a new quick launch function to set up shortcuts to the new apps, are part of the new Pebble Firmware 2.6 software release for the new watches, according to the company.
Pebble also announced a $50 price drop for its dressier, metal Pebble Steel smartwatch, which is now priced at $199.
The Pebble smartwatch is water resistant up to 50 meters, is readable in daylight, has up to seven days of battery life on one charge, and gives incoming phone, texting and messaging notifications on the watch's display, according to the company.
Pebble watches, which are already available at Best Buy, Target, AT&T stores and Amazon.com, are also now available through Sam's Club and Fry's Electronics stores in the United States. Soon they will also be available through Sprint stores in the U.S., according to Pebble.
The smartwatch marketplace is continuing to grow and expand in the U.S. The new $199 Basis Peak smartwatch was announced by Intel's wearable device division on Sept. 30, six months after Intel bought Basis for an undisclosed price back in March. The new smartwatch, with a myriad of fitness and health monitoring features, will be the first product release by Basis since Intel acquired the company.