A new app store and tons of new apps...here are some must-haves for your Pebble watch, and most of them are free.
The best Pebble apps
The new Pebble Steel watch is not all that's new about the Pebble: there's a new app store, too, which any Pebble owner -- original or Steel -- can use. A new Pebble watch Android/iOS companion app opens up to it, revealing a repository of various Pebble apps that you download to the phone app and load onto the Pebble or Pebble Steel. It's a great idea, but which apps should you choose out of the myriad odd offerings? Well, you've come to the right place: here are our favorites so far, but we'll keep updating as we find more.
Discovering local restaurants, cafes, stores or gas stations is an easy affair on this clever app: you use the Pebble's basic buttons to search through lists of local recommendations, and you can even read some reviews on the watch itself. A shake-to-discover mode lets you wiggle your wrist to get a random nearby suggestion if you're feeling lucky.
If you use FourSquare at all, this is a killer app: one quick button-press on the Pebble watch, and you're checked in wherever you may be. The app ties into a specific location via your phone, and suggests local matches for you to one-button check in with.
Along with a companion phone app, PebbGPS serves up turn-by-turn directions and basic map info to the Pebble, so you can find your way around without always taking out your phone. Map info takes a bit longer to refresh than on a phone, but it's great for casual strolls or for guidance in a car.
Pebble has an app store, but there's also a separate place to browse watch faces. Not all of these faces are merely cosmetic. Modern is a great example of a smarter watch armed with Pebble 2.0 features; not only does the design look great on a Pebble Steel, but it also connects automatically to show local weather.
True Fitbit or Nike Fuelband-level fitness apps aren't so easy to find on the Pebble, but there are a few that try their best. Movable is a clever free app that requires an iPhone 5S. An iPhone-side companion app ties into the iPhone 5S M7 motion-tracking processor and reads steps taken, while the Pebble app relays that to your wrist, and lets you set daily goals. Yes, it's really just a way to use your iPhone as a pedometer, but it works pretty well.
The Pebble has a surprising number of games, but the Pebble's limited buttons and lack of a touch screen means most games are a tough fit. Orbtime is a great match: it's a clone of the classic Drop7 mobile game. Clever multi-level logic and endless game play make for a good way to kill some time anywhere. It's free, too.
Have you ever paid for a latte with your watch? You can with PebbleBucks, which links to your Starbucks account to show rewards status and payment credit, and will even drop your payment barcode onto the watch face (that's not my actual account, for your information). It works with any Starbucks app scanner that I've tried, and completely baffles baristas.
Another stab at making a smarter watch face, Pebble Cards allows you to add weather, stock prices, synced Google Calendar appointments, notes, and battery status onto a clean-looking interface. Free, easy to set up, and some people might just choose to make Pebble Cards the only way they use a Pebble at all.