With nearly 200,000 Pebble smartwatches on wrists, it’s about time for a dedicated app store. The “Pebble appstore” — that’s the branded name — is planned for early 2014, and on Wednesday, Pebble opened up early access for developers to prepare.
Programmers can create smartwatch apps in seven unique categories for users to easily find their wares: Daily, Remotes, Games, Notifications, Tools & Utilities, Sports & Fitness and Watchfaces. All apps will be available to Pebble watch owners directly in the Pebble app for both iOS and Android. If developers will require an additional companion app for their Pebble software, the Play Store or iTunes App Store link can be included in the Pebble app description.
When the Pebble appstore launches, it won’t support paid apps, so developers won’t be getting rich on smartwatch apps. That could change over time, and developers can charge for a companion app outside of the Pebble appstore. If RunKeeper decided to charge for its smartphone app that leverages the Pebble, for example, it could do so on its main app, but not the Pebble app. Pebble will also provide some limited control over the its app store, ensuring apps confirm to its terms and conditions.
There are already Pebble apps available, but this effort helps in two ways.
First, it provides one-stop shopping for consumers that own a Pebble; they don’t have to hunt down smartwatch apps in various apps stores. For developers, it aids in discoverability and can even help with app promotion: Pebble will gather smartwatch apps into collections which could be featured in the app store.