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Save the Sony Smartwatch and the rather disastrous launch of the Galaxy Gear from Samsung, Pebble has had a fairly easy ride in the smartwatch industry, but with Google announcing Android Wear recently, the company knows that it has a big fight on its hands in order to remain relevant. Already this year, though, Pebble has made several key announcements and releases, and allied to the big software update and roll-out of the Pebble appstore, introduced the very stylish Pebble Steel. Now, those looking for the higher-end finish but who aren’t too bothered about the fittings can pick up the Pebble Steel – sans the metal band – for a reduced price.

The Pebble Steel boasts more of an authentic, traditional watch appearance, a stark contrast to the original Pebble, which looks every bit the smartwatch. But while the Pebble Steel’s metal band only enhances its nonchalant appearance, the actual body of the device itself is also designed in a way that doesn’t make too obvious its geeky credentials, and if you don’t mind forgoing the metallic strap, you an save yourself a little money along the way.

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The Pebble Steel costs $249, but if you want, you can opt for the leather strap option, which is arguably just as stylish while retailing at $229. Sure, it’s only $20, but if you’re looking across the smartwatch spectrum and are unsure of whether to bite, a small saving on a device from a fairly established manufacturer like Pebble might just tip the balance.

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The Pebble appstore, which went live early last month, is a big deal for the start-up. The Android Wear ecosystem, for example, already has several manufacturing partners on board, and even though it looks a little rough around the edges at the moment, it won’t be too long before the developers drag things up to scratch and the likes of Motorola, HTC, LG and ASUS join the party. As such, Pebble getting its act together with a centralized store and a big version 2.0 software update will stand it in very good stead, and with hundreds of thousands of users already, still has plenty of scope for growth before the major players lace up.

Pebble Steel leather

Still, as we wait for the shenanigans to unfold, the Pebble Steel – in black or stainless – is now available in with a leather strap, although it is currently back-ordered, so you will be waiting a few weeks for its arrival.

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