Pebble provides the Gear for fitness apps

Kickstarter-success Pebble has grown from a plucky start-up to a device and platform which continues to compete with even the latest of the big players’ offerings. It’s an incredible feat, and it’s even more impressive when you consider the device first shipped in November last year.

Today the smartwatch-darling has dropped its price and boosted its abilities in activity tracking to become one of the best choices on the market for health enthusiasts. The device even manages to compete against smartwatches dedicated towards fitness; such as Samsung’s Gear Fit.

Activity tracking apps for Pebble now work seamlessly in the background.

Firmware 2.6 makes it easier for developers to monitor users’ exercise and sleep through non-stop activity tracking in the background. This is playing to Pebble's strength of its best-in-class multi-day battery life – which is where competitors have often been criticised – and the company has partnered with fitness giants such as Jawbone, Misfit, and Swim.

The user can now view their watchface whilst activities are tracked behind-the-scenes, but Jawbone's app has taken the approach of displaying a custom watchface which shows daily and weekly activity and syncs up with the company's UP app on smartphones.

‘Swim’ on the other hand takes advantage of Pebble's 5ATM water-resistance to measure distance, average pace, time, and strokes via Swim's comprehensive tracking service for those who prefer to get their workout in water rather than on land.

If Pebble wasn't an enticing-enough proposition at this point, a price drop and wider retail availability could create further adoption. In the US you can now pick-up Pebble in Sprint stores, and in the UK you can now pick-up the device at Carphone Dixons and O2.

Pebble has been cut to $99 / €129 / £99 whilst Pebble Steel has been reduced to $199 / €229 / £179. For some comparison, Motorola’s Moto 360 is $249 (£199), the LG G Watch is $179 (£159), and the Samsung Gear Live is $199 (£169) in Google’s Play store. This means the non-Steel Pebble is $80 (or £60) cheaper than its closest competitor.

Pebble Firmware 2.6 Release Notes

  • NEW: Activity. Activity tracking apps (e.g. Jawbone, Misfit, Swim) for Pebble now work seamlessly in the background. View installed Activity apps and toggle preferences in the Pebble Settings menu. An Activity icon is visible within Pebble menus when a compatible app is installed and running.
  • NEW: Quick Launch. Set shortcuts from a watchface to your favorite Pebble apps with a long press of the Up or Down buttons. Enable Quick Launch and set app shortcuts in the Pebble Settings menu.
  • Battery icon is now persistent within Pebble menus.
  • Select button once again dismisses notifications when paired with an Android device or iOS device on iOS 7 or lower. iOS 8 users get notification dismissal for both Pebble and the paired device when pressing Select.
  • Bug fixes and improvements.

(Image Credit: CoffeeGeek)

Will you be taking advantage of Pebble's new activity tracking capabilities? Let us know in the comments.

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