Ina Fried

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With 190,000 Smartwatches Sold, Pebble Boosts iPhone Support

Pebble_DomoIt has been a busy year for the team behind Pebble.

The company has gone from a tiny, 11-person outfit trying to deliver promised smartwatches to its Kickstarter backers to a growing 40-person business looking to cement its role as a serious player in wearable technology.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” CEO Eric Migicovsky said in an interview on Tuesday. Migicovsky noted that Pebble, which began as a dream on Kickstarter, has now sold 190,000 units at $150 apiece. Kickstarter backers accounted for the first 85,000 sales. But, the majority — and all those sold since July — have gone to new customers, including sales through AT&T and Best Buy stores.

On Wednesday, Pebble is announcing a software update designed to make the watch more useful for those running Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system. The update will allow customers to see all manner of notifications on their device, instead of those related solely to communication: Instant messages, email and incoming calls.

In addition, Pebble is expanding the capabilities that developers can access in writing apps for the watch. Programmers will be able to store data on the device itself, rather than constantly having to send it from a linked phone. They will also have access to a JavaScript engine that will be built into the Pebble app for both iOS and Android devices. The hoped-for result is that developers will be able to more easily create programs that access the Web.

Early partners for Pebble’s new software capabilities include Yelp, which will serve up local data to the watch, and Foursquare, which will allow users to check in from the device. Pebble has also worked with GoPro to create a watch app that controls the latest version of the adventure camera. Remote-controlling other devices and apps is a growing area of interest, Migicovsky said.

Pebble is also announcing Wednesday that it now has all colors of the watch in stock. Great news for the company, which has long been supply constrained and is facing increasing competition as big-name companies take aim at the market it hopes to corner. Already, Qualcomm, Sony and Samsung have fielded smartwatches of their own. And, if rumors are true, Google and Apple will someday, as well.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google