PayPal beats Apple to the punch, launches Pebble smartwatch app for in-store payments

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Apple’s payment-enable smartwatch may still be months off, but PayPal is hoping to beat the Cupertino-based tech giant to the punch with watch-based payments at physical retailers. The payment company today debuted its application for the Pebble smartwatch, which allows users to make purchases at supported locations.

Unlike the Apple Watch and its associated payment system, PayPal’s app doesn’t require a connected smartphone to use. It also doesn’t support NFC-based transactions. Instead, it generates a payment code that can be used to check out and charge an order to a user’s account. In some stores users will also be able to check out simply by checking into the store through the app.

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Pebble Steel smartwatch leaks: metal & Gorilla Glass version on the way (Update: Announced)

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

If you like the functionality of the Pebble smartwatch but are less keen on the plastic finish, it looks like you won’t have long to wait for a metal version. We’ve seen a couple of leaks of the Pebble Steel, seemingly the exact same innards as the existing Pebble watch but with a stainless steel casing and Gorilla Glass.

There are said to be two versions, one in brushed stainless steel (shown alongside the original plastic version above) and a matte black one (shown below the fold) …  Read more

Pebble smart watch announces Best Buy as exclusive retail launch partner, available online today & in stores July 7

Yesterday we noted that Best Buy retail sources indicated the popular ‘Pebble’ Bluetooth smart watch would be landing on at least some of the retailer’s store shelves this weekend. Today Pebble and Best Buy have finally made things official by announcing the partnership that will bring the most successful Kickstarter-backed device of all time to both Best Buy online and across all its U.S. brick and mortar locations.

It’s definitely big news for the company ahead of Apple’s rumored smart watch, as well as Sony and others getting deeper into the space. The exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy also marks Pebble’s first retail launch of the device following raising over $10.2 million from around 68,000 backers on Kickstarter.

“It’s been so rewarding to see and share the great things our early backers and development partners have done with Pebble already,” says CEO Eric Migicovsky. “Their work and our evolving app ecosystem has kept demand very high. Best Buy’s partnership with us is a big step towards meeting that demand.”

As we first reported yesterday, Pebble confirmed today that the device will be landing in all U.S. Best Buy locations starting Sunday, July 7, and Jet black and Cherry red editions of the smart watch are already available through Best Buy’s website. The Jet black models will be shipping starting today through the retailer’s online store, while the Cherry red models will arrive sometime later in August.

The packaging for Pebble also appears to have received an upgrade for Best Buy’s store shelves since we first saw it back in January right before the device started shipping to Kickstarter backers:

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Best Buy apparently set to sell Pebble smart watch beginning this weekend (Update: confirmed)

Update: (10am ET) The link is now live at Best Buy

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.31.47 AM

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At least some Best Buy retail stores in the United States will begin selling the Pebble smart watch this weekend, according to claims from two Best Buy employees. Both of these people say that they were briefed by management that their stores will begin selling the smart watch. Additionally, one source provided the above image which purportedly shows the Pebble smart watch in Best Buy’s internal inventory system. The inventory system classifies the product as a “digital communication appcessory,” which we feel is an apt description of the Pebble…

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Apple unlocks full Notification Center access & much more for Bluetooth LE devices in iOS 7

Apple-Bluetooth-01Something new in iOS 7 that hasn’t been getting much coverage is the improvements Apple is making to Core Bluetooth for better integration with Bluetooth LE accessories. Apple is making a lot of changes to its Bluetooth APIs in iOS 7 that will not only allow your iOS devices to work with more Bluetooth LE devices, it will also introduce new features for everything from time to notifications, keyboards, and stereo sound.

Enhance your apps with support for new types of accessories. Location beacons are a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence. Location beacons will provide apps a whole new level of location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores. Other new features include the ability to setup and configure Wi-Fi accessories, such as AirPlay speakers, directly from iOS.

On top of the new location beacons, we already know about a few new Bluetooth improvements in iOS 7 including the new framework for hardware game controllers, and the AirDrop file sharing feature. However, there are also some big improvements to APIs coming that will make your Bluetooth devices work seamlessly with iOS 7… Read more

Pebble releases updated Pebblekit SDK & Sports API with full support for iOS & Android apps

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Pebble, the popular Bluetooth smartwatch that raised over $10M on Kickstarter before shipping to backers in January, today announced the release of an updated SDK and APIs that will allow iOS and Android developers to create apps for the platform. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky had this to say about the updates:

“The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities”, said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder. “This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble’s extraordinary potential.”

The updated Pebblekit SDK will now allow developers to create third-party apps that will be able to send and receive data to apps on the Pebble smartwatch. The updated SDK will effectively allow developers to build new apps for the platform, for example, taking weather or news information from an iOS or Android app and displaying it on the watch. Previously devs were limited to implementing the basic functions of Pebble.

You might have heard RunKeeper recently added support for tracking data using Pebble and today Pebble is making easier for similar fitness apps to do the same with a new Sports API for accessing the GPS features of the watch.  Read more