Best Buy—Selling Watches?

So a new retailer is entering the watch business, and it’s a name you have probably heard of: Best Buy.

We should note that the electronics retailer, which already sells some Timex and sport watches, is selling not just any watch, but the Pebble smartwatch, probably the highest profile smartwatch currently on the market, at least until Apple releases theirs. (That’s if it releases theirs.) The Pebble is being sold for $150, and can be seen and ordered here.

It is likely that this will be seen as a testing of the smartwatch concept in general. If Best Buy is successful with the Pebble, we will likely see other companies jump into this field, like Apple and Samsung and Microsoft, all of whom are said to have smartwatches in development. It’s also significant that these watches are now being released to electronics stores, rather than the people who usually sell watches—jewelers.

But will people really want this? What does it do? Here is a review of the Pebble from Business Insider:

“When someone calls, my phone rings as it normally would, except now I have caller ID on my wrist. When someone texts, I can read the incoming message without even touching my phone.

Pebble also vibrates, meaning you never have to worry about not feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket. I loved that aspect of it.

The customizability here is great as well. A number of custom watchfaces are ready for download. I imagine many, many more will be on the way since the company recently released its watchface API, letting people create their own ways of displaying time.

Best of all, the Pebble lasted about two days on a charge for me, much longer than your smartphone.”

Michael Schechter has further thoughts on this here, noting that perhaps the feature that might “freak the industry out” the most is its changing face. “A couple of times I got bored with my Pebble watch, and I just switched the face up,” he said.

As we have discussed before, while the rise of smartwatches shouldn’t panic the industry, it’s also something the trade shouldn’t ignore. As long as smartwatches were something geeks could only get if they contributed to Kickstarter, it was easy to consider them a rarified item. But now they are available at your local Best Buy. The future may have arrived sooner than we thought.

JCK News Director