Pebble unveils $299 Steel Time smartwatch, details smartstrap accessories

Pebble today introduced the Pebble Time Steel, a steel version of its recently announced Pebble Time smartwatch. The new Steel edition has a CNC-finished 316L stainless steel case with Gunmetal Black, Silver Stainless and Gold finishes. It will ship with band options of leather or stainless steel. The device also includes a larger battery that provides an advertised ten days of battery life. The Pebble Steel Time is available to pre-order via Pebble's Kickstarter page for $249, a $50 discount off the suggested retail price of $299. Customers who ordered the Pebble Time can upgrade to the Steel edition and still keep their place in line, though the Steel version won't ship until July.

In addition to the Steel Time, Pebble also detailed its new smartstraps program, which allows developers and manufactuers to design sensor-laden watch bands that send information to the Pebble Time and Time Steel smartwatch. Smartstraps can extend the functionality of the smartwatch by embedding extended batteries, temperature sensors and more into a replaceable accessory band.

Our take on the news:

Pebble is the strongest competitor to the Apple Watch in the smartwatch category, which is poised to explode this year. The company already has an existing smartwatch and is now releasing its second-generation devices. The design of the watch has been polished, and the UI tweaked to a time-based interface that pushes the most important notifications to the forefront. Pebble also is undercutting the estimated $349 starting price of the Apple Watch with its $199 Pebble Time and $299 Pebble Time Steel. Though it has a solid smartwatch offering, Pebble is not blind to the threat of the Apple Watch and is wise to announce its smartwatch devices and secure funding before the Apple Watch launches in the next month.