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Pebble unveils Steel smartwatch, app store

Pebble has delivered on its promise of big CES news – the company is launching the Pebble Steel and an app store. Plus, more partners have come on board to develop cool new things with Pebble. The Pebble Steel, as the name suggests, is a smartwatch with a metal body and is way better looking than its predecessor.

Looks aside, the Steel will be completely compatible with the current Pebble and all apps that work with it.

The Pebble Steel is made of forged and CNC-machined stainless steel in two versions – brushed metal and matte black.. The matte black version uses a process called Physical Vapor Deposition, which has been used by luxury phone maker Vertu.

The premium feel of the new smartwatch is enhanced by two wrists straps that will come in each box, one metal and one black leather, bringing the total number combinations to four. Other hardware changes include Gorilla glass with anti-fingerprint coating and an RGB LED charging indicator.

Other than that, it’s virtually the same smartwatch with an e-paper screen, great battery life and 5 ATM water resistance. Even the button placement is the same, though buttons are now made of metal.

Pre-orders for the Pebble Steel start today at getpebble.com. The price is set at $250 ($100 over the plastic model) and the watches will start shipping on January 28.

While the screen could have been a bit bigger or higher resolution, it’s still good to see that the Steel maintains compatibility with all the apps developed for the current model. Better yet, Pebble is launching an app store, a “centralized location for users to discover, manage and install apps and watch faces.”

The app store will open its virtual doors by the end of the month and will offers apps and watch faces in several categories, including a special category of curated content. Devs who want their apps to make it into the curated section should submit them by January 9 (this Thursday).

Besides developers at large, big name partners MercedesBenz, Pandora and ESPN have joined current partners Yelp, Foursquare, GoPro and iControl. They will be presenting cool new apps at CES.

Don’t forget to read our review of the Pebble for details on the functionality.

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