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Pebble Drops Smartwatch Prices, Adds Fitness Features

The market's best smartwatch just got better. Pebble announced today (Sept. 30) that it's shaving the price of its basic smartwatch to $99 (down from $150), while the Steel will now cost $200 (down from $250). This makes the Pebble one of the more affordable, fully featured wearables available right now.

The original Pebble watch features an 144 x 160-pixel, E Ink display, and was one of the first watches to put notifications on your wrist. The Steel was the company's more premium offering thanks to its elegant metal design and improved software. Pebbles are compatible with both Android and iOS devices, and offer more than 4,000 that apps you can run on the watch itself.

MORE: Smartwatch Buying Guide 2014

The company also announced a software update that lets Pebbles track your activity and sleep patterns in the background while displaying a watchface. Three new apps support this new function -- Misfit's updated Pebble app, Jawbone's Up and Swim.com. With the latter, you can keep the water-resistant Pebble on you while doing laps around the pool, and measure your distance, pace, timing, strokes and efficiency.

Existing smartwatches by companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola cost upwards of $200, such as the $230 G Watch and the $250 Motorola Moto 360. While the Pebble Steel now costs the same as Samsung's Gear Live, the latter runs the Android Wear operating system, which does not offer full apps or the customization options that Pebble does. The Gear Live does carry an onboard heart rate monitor, though.

Android Wear devices are also not compatible with iOS systems right now, while Pebbles support both ecosystems.

Apple also recently unveiled its own smartband, called Watch, which will pair with iOS devices and serve up notifications for $350. But it won't be available for purchase until next year. Pebble's new $99 starting price will give it an edge over the competition in the increasingly heated space.

You can buy Pebble watches at such retail stores as Sam's Club, Fry's Electronics and Sprint outlets, in addition to Best Buy, Target, AT&T and Amazon.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low keeps losing her dumb watches. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.