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Pebble smartwatch app clocks in for iOS, Android

iOS and Android users who snag one of the new smartwatches can tap into the app to change watch faces and get software updates.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Owners of the new Pebble smartwatch can now download an iOS or Android app to get even more out of the watch.

Available today, the iOS and Android versions offer a dashboard for your Pebble watch. You start by pairing your phone or tablet with your watch via Bluetooth. Once they've been paired, the app offers several handy features.

You can install custom watch faces onto the Pebble. You can receive notices when new software updates are available for the Pebble. You can send test messages to your watch. You can also access how-to guides and contact Pebble tech support from your iOS device.

Of course, in order to use the app, you first need to buy the watch. So, what is the Pebble watch and how do you get one?

The $150 Pebble is a smartwatch, meaning it obviously does more than just tell the time.

The watch can sync with iPhones and Android phones to notify you of incoming calls, e-mail, instant messages, and calendar appointments. The display uses e-paper technology, so you can more easily see it in direct sunlight. The watch also has the ability to run mobile apps, once such apps become available.

Like many innovative products, the Pebble kicked off through a Kickstarter campaign, which proved to be a true money maker. Last May, the watch easily hit its goal of $100,000 in funds, then went on to generate a total of $10.2 million from eager backers.

And now the watch is finally off the assembly line. The Pebble people announced yesterday that the first 500 units are being shipped to the earliest Kickstarter backers. But more are expected soon. The company said its factory is making 800 to 1,000 Pebbles per day and is striving to reach full capacity of 2,400 a day.

People who didn't get in on the Kickstarter action and want the watch can preorder one for $150 at Pebble's Web site. But you'll naturally have to wait until the backers get theirs.