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Just yesterday we learned that Best Buy was offering up the Pebble for just $99.99. Today Pebble has revealed this will be the new permanent pricing and that they will be teaming up with more retail partners across the globe, making the Pebble a much more affordable (and highly available) option over Android Wear and many of its competitors.

In addition to slashing the price, Pebble has also announced that a new software update to firmware 2.6 that will bring full activity tracking and sleep monitoring to both the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel. According to the Pebble team, you’ll be able to display your favorite watchface while activity will be tracked in the background.

In order to optimize this effort, Pebble will be introducing new health and fitness apps from Misfit, Jawbone and Swim.com that will take advantage of the tracking functionality. This includes a new activity tracking app from Jawbone called Up, as well as a Swim.com app that measures distance, pace, times, strokes and efficiency while swimming. As for the Misfit app? It has been updated to allow continuous 24/7 activity tracking and sleep monitoring.

Aside from the new tracking features, the update includes a few other goodies as well. Here’s a change-log to give you a rundown of what to expect:

  • NEW: Activity. Activity tracking apps (e.g. Jawbone, Misfit, Swim.com) for Pebble now work seamlessly in the background. View installed Activity apps and toggle preferences in the Pebble Settings menu. An Activity icon is visible within Pebble menus when a compatible app is installed and running.
  • NEW: Quick Launch. Set shortcuts from a watchface to your favorite Pebble apps with a long press of the Up or Down buttons. Enable Quick Launch and set app shortcuts in the Pebble Settings menu.
  • Battery icon is now persistent within Pebble menus.
  • Select button once again dismisses notifications when paired with an Android device or iOS device on iOS 7 or lower. iOS 8 users get notificaion dismissal for both
  • Pebble and the paired device when pressing Select.
  • Bug fixes and improvements.

While this software update and new pricing scheme could bring new Pebble fans, we have to wonder when exactly we’ll be treated to a true next-gen Pebble watch. Still, this latest move is a step in the right direction and both the new pricing and the latest firmware improvements are welcome changes. Anyone interested in picking up the Pebble at its new and reduced pricing? How do you feel the watch compares to its more recent competitors?