Pebble is turning to Best Buy to help ship the new Pebble Time smartwatch, with pre-orders starting on June 22.
The exclusive arrangement means that BestBuy.com will be the only place to pre-order a Pebble Time in the United States. Customers outside the United States can order through Pebble's website, also on June 22. Pebble has said that the regular retail price will be $199, and watches will ship "soon after" the pre-order period.
For people who backed Pebble Time on Kickstarter, Pebble began shipping out watches on May 27. Most early backers should have their watches by now, though there are a fair number of Kickstarter commenters who say they haven't received theirs yet.
The Pebble Time is the company's second smartwatch, and adds color to the device's always-on display. It also has a slimmer, smaller design, and a microphone for voice input. Battery life is an advertised seven days, but so far it seems more like five days in real-world use, which is still longer than other smartwatches. On the software front, it adds a new " Timeline" that lets users scroll backward and forward in time to see relevant bits of information.
A stainless steel version of the watch, called Pebble Time Steel, is also in the works, with shipping to begin in July for Kickstarter backers. There's no word on when Pebble Time Steel pre-orders will begin, or when they'll ship to the public.
Why this matters: While the Pebble Time was successful for a Kickstarter project, with nearly 80,000 backers and $20 million raised, the real test is whether Pebble can appeal to people beyond its core fanbase. The company needs to scale up quickly if it wants to attract developers to the Timeline interface and color display. Best Buy's involvement could give Pebble the boost it needs.
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