19 December 2013

Pebble smartwatch to roll out appstore In 2014

The developers behind the Pebble smartwatch will roll out their own appstore next year, the company announced on Wednesday. The Pebble appstore will serve to address the frequent request for such a marketplace amongst Pebble users and will allow users the ability to download apps for both Android and iOS devices.

“Today, we are proud to announce exciting news to our developer community: the Pebble Developer Portal is now open! Pebble app developers can now upload their Pebble apps for distribution in the upcoming Pebble appstore,” the company posted on its official blog. “When it launches in early 2014, the Pebble appstore will be a first-of-its-kind wearable tech application directory giving Pebble users a one-stop-shop for searching, browsing, and installing Pebble watch faces and apps directly from the iOS or Android Pebble smartphone app.”

The Pebble appstore will be broken down into several categories, including Sports & Fitness, Daily, Remotes, Games, Notifications, and Tools & Utilities.

Developers will also be able to begin to upload their apps to the digital marketplace, as well as take advantage of the recently updated software development kit (SDK).

The introduction of SDK 2.0 included four major new APIs Javascript, Accelerometer, Data Logging, and Persistent Storage and the response has been phenomenal,” the official blog post added. “We know developers have excitedly anticipated submitting their SDK 2.0 Pebble apps to the Pebble appstore.”

More details were announced via the Pebble Developer Blog, which noted, “Pebble appstore will be included in the official Pebble smartphone application and will be the first place where Pebble users look for Pebble apps. For developers, the Pebble appstore is the best way to promote and distribute your Pebble applications to users.”

The developer blog also addressed the fact Pebble 1.x apps will not run on the 2.0 firmware, and the company will automatically upgrade existing Pebble apps on a user’s Pebble when upgrading to the new firmware. To this end, developers will need to have their apps ported to the 2.0 SDK.

The smartwatch startup, which had secured a $15 million Series A investment in May following a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that raised an additional $10 million, announced in November it had integrated its smartwatch platform with iOS7.

To date, the company has sold more than 190,000 smartwatches, and while Samsung, Apple and Sony have also entered the market, Pebble has managed to carve out a niche, making it one of the most recognizable names in the wearable computing market.

Due to this popularity, a number of third party appstores have already launched, including MyPebbleFaces.com, but according to online reports these will continue to work, and Pebble will not block installations from these sites. In addition, paid applications will not be supported in the official Pebble appstore, but paid apps for the smartwatch can still be found in the Android Marketplace and Apple Appstore.

Pebble will likely face increased competition, not only from Samsung and Apple, but also from companies that might look to develop wearable devices based on Qualcomm’s Toq concept device, which was announced in November.

Now read: Qualcomm Introduces Toq Concept Smartwatch For Retail


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