Well, this is certainly interesting and surprising news. It appears that Pebble Technology, the small Kickstarter-funded company behind the Pebble smartwatch, has struck an exclusive deal with Best Buy (News - Alert) that will target bringing the device to market in a way that allows users to perhaps test the device in the store before buying, try it on, and check out if it makes any sense for you – or not. It may simply be the case that you’ll plunk your money down and get the watch without ever actually getting to touch it first. Those details are currently missing. Best Buy will also sell the Pebble through its online store.
The price is exactly one penny less than Pebble has charged through its pre-order website and for those who “backed” the company through its most popular Kickstarter deal - $149.99 vs. $150. This is clearly an outrage! Early adopters and backers should demand their penny back!
Why do we say surprising? Well, for starters, we are among those who pre-ordered the watch quite some time ago. We did recently receive an email that noted we would likely see our watch some time in August, though there was no absolute guarantee to that effect. It is necessary to note that we have not actually paid out any cash at this point, as Pebble won’t actually put a charge through until the watch has shipped. Still, we’ve waited for months, and we’ve now found out that Best Buy will begin selling the watch online and in stores themselves beginning July 7, 2013.
We should also note that we ordered ours in cherry red. Alas the jet black version is the only color that will be immediately available through Best Buy, either online or in stores. The Best Buy website notes that the Pebble is “Coming Soon” so perhaps it will not be a case of instant gratification, even if you want the jet black version. There is no indication yet when our cherry red version will be available.
Image via Pebble
We just don’t know. We sent Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky an email about it, but we haven’t heard back yet. What this means is that we can probably get a bit more instant gratification if we wanted to go with the black version – but we want our cherry red, so there will be no instant gratification for us.
We’ve been speaking to Eric about Pebble participating in the upcoming Wearable Technology Expo and Conference that runs July 24 – 25, 2013, but unfortunately the timing is wrong for Pebble to participate. Sony is also unable to participate for the same reasons even though it is in the midst of launching its new Sony SmartWatch 2.
Meanwhile, there are other smartwatch players to keep a sharp eye on – the folks behind the new Agent smartwatch from Secret Labs, the VEA Buddy from VEA Design and the new Meteor from Kreyos will all be putting in an appearance at our smartwatch session and the event’s Demo Forum.
It may very well be worth stopping by for the session before heading off to Best Buy! We’ve also brought in a special devil’s advocate to participate on the panel – Skooks Pong, SVP of technology over at Synapse, who knows a thing or two about wearable tech.
Pebble of course is the best-known Kickstarter project, having raised a hugely unanticipated $10+ million in backing. The Pebble device itself has its good and not-so-good points – the company needs to work a few kinks out still. For example, apparently the Pebble’s ability to communicate with the iPhone (News - Alert) isn’t quite as good as its ability to talk to Android devices. We’ve no doubt Pebble will iron all of these issues out over the next few months.
We’ll be checking out the competitors in great detail at our conference, and we will be writing hands-on reviews of all of them, but, that said, we do not deny that we still look forward to getting our hands on the cherry red Pebble we’ve been waiting for now for months. So, there will be no immediate run to Best Buy for us this weekend. We won’t even complain about the one penny differential.
Pebble Technology, congrats on your Best Buy deal, but…get us our cherry red Pebble already!
Edited by Blaise McNamee
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