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Hands-on: Pebble gets a boost with lower price and new firmware

Jared Newman | Oct. 2, 2014
Pebble hasn't flinched as it faces down Android Wear and the upcoming Apple Watch.

The latest update adds app shortcuts directly to the watchface screen, accessed by pressing and holding the top or bottom buttons. The first time you hold either button, you can choose which app you want to map, and you can always change it later through the Settings menu. I wish Pebble allowed for even more shortcuts, but at least now I can check the weather or open my Starbucks card in less time than it takes to get out my phone.

pebbleshortcuts
JARED NEWMAN. Users can map app shortcuts to the top and bottom buttons on the watch's right side.

This firmware update is Pebble's second in less than two weeks. The previous update unlocked compass functionality and let users dismiss notifications from both the watch and a paired iPhone at the same time.

The updates and the price cuts make Pebble a much more compelling smartwatch option, to the point that I'm tempted to upgrade from the plastic model to a Pebble Steel. There is, however, one major caveat: None of the recent software improvements have rolled out to Android yet. If you're not using an iPhone, you might want to hold off until Android support gets up to speed.

 

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