From startups like Pebble to huge players like Samsung, more and more companies are stepping into the smartwatch arena. Even at this very early stage, there’s a lot of variety in terms of price, design and capabilities. Some smartwatches keep it simple by delivering notifications to your wrist, and some go a step further with the ability to make calls or run lightweight apps. Apple, Google and Microsoft are all believed to be crafting wrist-worn smartphone companions of their own, but there are plenty of options worth eyeing today.
The $150 original Pebble broke Kickstarter records when it was crowdfunded in 2012, and now its successor is back to prove that smartwatches don’t have to look like geek wear. The $250 Pebble Steel sports an elegant stainless steel design and comes with both metal and leather wristbands out of the box. But just as important the new look is the platform's software enhancements. The company is launching an official app store for both Pebble watches at the end of January and has announced partnerships with ESPN, Yelp, Pandora, Foursquare and Mercedes to bring more functionality to your wrist.