9to5 Mac reports that many Best Buy stores in North America are gearing up to sell the Pebble smartwatch in-store for $149.99 USD (opens in new tab) in the next few weeks. The company already offers Sony's SmartWatch online and in-store for $129.99 USD (opens in new tab), but it's only compatible with select Android devices. Pebble's gadget will support both Apple and Android devices.
The news first arrived by way of several Best Buy employees who said they were briefed by management that their stores will begin selling the Pebble gadget starting this weekend. Another source provided a screenshot showing the Pebble smartwatch listed in Best Buy's internal inventory system. It classes the gadget as a "digital communication accessory".
The inventory screenshot also points to an in-stock date of July 7, backing up the report made by the previous two Best Buy employees. Sunday is typically when Best Buy rolls out specials and new products, but the listed date only means when the gadget will be in stock: the inventory doesn't list an actual street date, so the Pebble gadget may not be listed in Best Buy's advertisement in this Sunday's massive paper.
The inventory screen also lists "No" for home delivery, meaning Best Buy employees won't bring this gadget to your doorstep. The website clearly shows that consumers will get free shipping if they purchase online through Best Buy's website, so it's just a matter of when the customer wants to receive the device: immediately upon payment or within the next few business days.
That said, if the Pebble smartwatch becomes a hot item locally, customers may not have any choice but to order online until supplies last. It does appear that Best Buy plans to sell this device for quite a while, as it's listed in the inventory with an out-of-stock date of August 4, 2016.
The Pebble smartwatch started as a Kickstarter project that ultimately raised just over $10.2 million USD. The developer behind the gadget was originally named inPulse before switching over to the current Pebble Technologies title. The final smartwatch design features Sharp's memory LCD "ePaper" screen measuring 1.26 inches and sporting a 144 x 168 resolution. It can communicate with Android and iOS devices with Bluetooth 2.1, but also supports Bluetooth 4.0. The battery supposedly lasts for seven days.
"Pebble is the first watch built for the 21st century. It's infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watchfaces and useful internet-connected apps," the company said. "Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages. While designing Pebble, we strove to create a minimalist yet fashionable product that seamlessly blends into everyday life."
Consumers interested in the Pebble smartwatch should keep an eye on Best Buy's product listing over the next several days, or pick up a Sunday paper on July 7 to see if the device is listed in the retailer's multi-page ad. There;s a good chance it could go on sale with a discounted price to undercut Sony's gadget.
UPDATE: Pebble has confirmed (opens in new tab) that Best Buy will exclusively sell the Jet Black version starting July 7, and a Cherry Red model will be made available in August. Best Buy also has a dedicated address for Pebble: bestbuy.com/pebble. (opens in new tab)